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Rising through the ashes: Bomar Speaks
On Jan. 1, 2006, a post on www.TexAgs.com appeared that described an incident involving the poster’s girlfriend. She worked at a car dealership in a town he refused to name but said the dealership was allegedly paying players even though they were not showing up.
Other members initially waived off the post, but it was the truth, and the story broke on the website seven months before anyone would hear of it.
The University of Oklahoma would not begin an investigation until April 19 of that year. That is when they started investigating allegations about Adrian Peterson.
Peterson, the Sooners’ star running back, took an extended test drive in a Lexus from the dealership. Rumors spread around town that the car was given to him.
The university investigated and found no wrong doing. The officials then began to investigate the employment of the football players, which intensified, and the result was a shock to the nation.
On Aug. 3, the university issued a press release announcing the permanent dismissal of both Bomar and Quinn for receiving improper benefits.
Sam Houston State
Immediately following his dismissal, Bomar was faced with a serious choice. School would start in a few weeks. He had to find a university and enroll quickly.
The real choice boiled down to Division I or Division IAA.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen with the NCAA,” Bomar said. “I knew there would be a suspension, but I didn’t know how long.”
If Bomar transferred to another Division I school, he would have to sit out an entire year, plus his suspension. The University of Houston was his first choice, but since he wanted to play immediately, he chose Sam Houston State University.
SHSU head football coach Todd Whitten had been courting Bomar since his dismissal. This was a large factor in his selection of schools.
After choosing Sam Houston, Bomar enrolled two weeks into the semester and slept on a friend’s couch. Bomar was the practice-squad quarterback.
“That kind of situation really humbles you,” said Bomar. “I knew I couldn’t come down there with an ego, because no one would have accepted me.”
Bomar’s suspension came from the NCAA nine games into the season. It was for a full year, and their message was harsh but it was also clear: ‘Do not break our rules.’ After that, he was a model student at Sam Houston.
Maybe that was when it hit Bomar: the attitude that he had carried since high school – the one the scouts would claim was arrogant and cocky – would have to disappear if he wanted to be the quarterback he knew he could be.
Bomar, standing a menacing 6 ft. 2 in. and 225 pounds, set out to silence the critics. His game was still shaky but the talent was evident. The Southland conference was in for a shock.
“I told everyone that justbecause I came to a smaller school doesn’t mean my talent diminished,” said Bomar.
Three games into the season Bomar had a shot at showing off his talent.
North Dakota State was ranked second in the nation. Bomar got the ball with little time left in the game and marched like a general down the field, scoring with just 20 seconds left in the game.
He went to the sidelines to see that the fans who had been heckling him all game long had gone silent.
This was it. This was where he would show the world he was back.
He ran for over a hundred yards and passed for over 350 but it wasn’t quite enough. North Dakota returned the favor and scored in the remaining time left. Moment spoiled.
The Bearkats went 7-4 that season, missing the playoffs, but Bomar would be a do-it-all quarterback and had no problems dominating the Southland Conference.
His junior year stats were impressive: 2,200 yards passing with 59 percent completion percentage.
“Rhett is a very hard worker,” Whitten said. “He is a prolific passer and a remarkable young man.”
It was back to the gym after the season. If Bomar wanted NFL respect, he would have to put up NFL numbers.
He burst onto the scene his senior year in his first game against East Central Oklahoma and threw for almost 200 yards and had four touchdowns and no interceptions.
When the Bearkats took on Kansas, Bomar showed that he still had Division I talent, scorching the Jayhawks for 361 yards and completing 62 percent of his passes.
But the season played out just like the year before. The Bearkats went 4-6 and missed the playoffs.
The real numbers came in the stat box. Bomar had 27 touchdown passes, 5 rushing touchdowns and broke Sam Houston State’s record for passing yards and passing touchdowns.
“That was something I was really proud of,” Bomar said. “In 19 games, I was able to break those records. I give all the credit to the coaches for putting me in good situations.”
Bomar finished the year with the Bearkats on Nov. 22, with a loss to Texas State. Immediately following the game, Bomar had one focus – the NFL. He took all his exams a week early and didn’t even attend graduation, where he received his degree in kinesiology.
He went to Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta, Ga., where he teamed up with Chip Smith.
“I have never had someone as focused as Rhett,” said Smith. “He reminds me a lot of Trent Edwards. He has all the skills and will be just fine in the NFL.”
Bomar worked every day. He lifted, he threw, and he sprinted for his forty-yard dash. Nothing was going to come between him and his dream; he was invited to the Senior Bowl to showcase his skills.
“Oh man, that was lots of fun,” Bomar said. “It is just a great experience.”
Bomar played for the North team under Marvin Lewis the Cincinnati Bengals head coach.
He had a good showing at the Senior Bowl, where he threw for 75 yards and completed the longest pass of the game. Next up was the Combine.
The Combine is make-or-break time for any player. It’s where a bad forty-yard dash time can take you from a first-round pick to a fourth-round pick.
The worst thing is the medical exams. Players are poked and prodded like sides of beef to determine if they are medically ready for the NFL.
When it was time to work out for the scouts, Bomar showed them why he was the number one quarterback in high school.
He ran his 20-yard shuttle in 4.06 seconds-faster than any quarterback, running back or even wide receiver. His mobility outside the pocket was what impressed almost everyone.
Phone calls to the Bengals went unreturned.
After the Combine, Bomar was invited by both the New England Patriots and the New York Jets for personal workouts.
Most draft experts have him going in the third round of the draft.
Though the life of Rhett Bomar has been well documented, it is one that others can learn from. Bomar was regarded as young and arrogant, a kid who made a dumb mistake.
But when he was busted down at his highest moment, he learned that even he is human.
Fans from every school mocked him during his time at Sam Houston.
There wasn’t a story that came out that did not discuss his troubles at Oklahoma.
But through it all, Bomar found a way to grow up and become the man that every fan knew he could be.
“The hecklers never bothered me,” said Bomar. “I just told them to get a life. For me, there is something bigger than that.”