Terry Glenn and Eddie George strolled in to Ohio State together in 1992, Glenn a troubled walk-on from Brookhaven High School who had to get his academic act together, George a celebrated recruit from Philadelphia who many thought could be the next great thing.
“Terry had to earn his stripes, but we knew from the beginning Terry could be something special,” George said Monday after hearing of Glenn’s death, at age 43, after a car accident in suburban Dallas.
“He did something as a receiver at every single practice that made you go ‘Wow.’ There was always that wow factor with him,” George said.
George said he and Glenn had spoken not long ago about George being part of a fundraising event for Glenn’s 83 Foundation, which he started to help youngsters dealing with unfortunate circumstances much as he had to do, losing both his father and mother by the time he was an early teen.
“He was a beautiful spirit, just a good, genuine guy,” George said. “He was almost an introvert in a way, but he had a wonderful vibe about him, man, that was infectious.”
They rose to become two of the several major stars of the 1995 galaxy of an Ohio State team. George won the Heisman Trophy that season, Glenn the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the nation and left tackle Orlando Pace the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman.
“I tell you what, about a month and a half ago I was showing my son the Penn State game of ’95, and just watching it, wow, Terry had a hell of a day,” George said of Glenn’s nine-catch performance — a couple of them soaring grabs — for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
“You could just see then that he had all-pro potential, how he took over the game, how he was able to separate, how he was able to set up his routes.”
John Cooper was the coach of that team, and he the greatness, too, which added to the impact of Monday’s news.
“He came up the hard way,” Cooper said. “And to see somebody progress like he did, and leave here as maybe, arguably the best wide receiver to play at Ohio State, won the Biletnikoff Award, seventh player take in the (1996 NFL) draft, all-pro and all that kind of stuff — your heart goes out to his family.”
Cooper said, for example, he thinks frequently about Glenn’s 82-yard catch-and-run with a pass from Bobby Hoying late in the third quarter of the win over Notre Dame in 1995, the storied programs’ first meeting since 1936. OSU defensive tackle Matt Finkes said Cooper is not the only one.
“The first thing I think of is that catch and run vs. Notre Dame,” Finkes said. “Also him returning the second half kickoff (for a touchdown) against us — Piqua — in a high school playoff game in ’91.”
That’s the kind of ability that got him known to the masses.
“When I think of him, I just think of this calm, quiet spirit who had a great smile and just loved life, and overcame so much adversity,” George said. “Gosh, man. This one hurts.”
Glenn had several major off-field problems during his 12-year career in the NFL which took him from New England to Dallas to finally Green Bay.
“We all have our demons that we fight, we all have those issues we have to fight through,” George said. “And Terry’s background, golly, he overcame a lot. With that being said, it was very much a part of his life, very much of who he was, what he had to overcome to achieve and accomplish to thrive.”
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