Jeff Sydner is Centurians #21

About how he rarely called for a fair catch, Jeff Sydner said:
“I didn’t like to fair catch, it defeats the purpose. Who wants to go back there and waste a play by fair catching when you’ve got a chance to make something happen? Hawaii in general, the fans, everybody just wanted big things to happen. They came to those games to see big plays and big things and I felt like that’s what I was there to do. I never wanted to short the fans anything.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Sydner’s elusiveness as a returner and versatility as a slotback added up to 4,137 total yards, good for third on the program’s all-time list. His 82-yard punt return against Maine in 1990 remains the second longest in UH history and he held the record for punt return yardage until Chad Owens passed him in 2004.”

About how he never feared getting hit hard on a return, Sydner saidL
“I always had the mentality of you’re going to get hit, that’s part of the game. Contact is part of it. Sometimes that’s the best part of it. In order to play that game and play it to the level that it’s supposed to be played at, there has to be a part of you that is just sacrificial. That’s what I enjoyed about it.” (HSB)

About how he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go all the way from Ohio to Hawaii for college until he talked about his options with Columbus East head coach Doug Smith, Sydner said:
“I’m like, ‘Coach, what can I do from out there?’ He told me, ‘Jeff you can do whatever you want to do from out there. Your talent’s going to take you where you need to go.’ ” (HSB)

About where his elusive moves came from, Sydner said:
“Some of the things you can’t even explain. A lot of my stuff used to come when I’d be resting or have down time and you just visualize things happening. If you visualize something happening, chances are there’ll come a time when that opportunity presents itself and you’re probably going to act off instinct.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “In Hawaii’s 1990 blowout of BYU, the day Ty Detmer won the Heisman Trophy, Garrett Gabriel hit a wide-open Sydner across the middle for a touchdown. Sydner then flipped the ball to an official, and hit the Heisman pose, sticking out his right arm while cradling an imaginary ball in his left.”

About the Heisman pose he struck during that BYU game, Sydner (who was later teammates with Detmer with the Eagles) said:
“We were riding pretty high at that point. It wasn’t an insult or a slap in the face. He definitely deserved (the Heisman), he played head and shoulders above the rest that year. … But you know how competition is … ” (HSB)

About leaving a year early for the NFL, Sydner said:
“I just felt like I was ready and you have to take your chances when you can. I didn’t want to look myself in the mirror and say, ‘what if.’ That’s the way I live my life to this day.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “These days, Sydner is an operations manager for Lowe’s in Baton Rouge, La., and another Sydner will soon be looking to make a name for himself on the field. Jeff Anthony Sydner, the oldest of his three children, will be a sophomore receiver at Seven Lakes High in Katy, Texas. He’s also the proud dad of Christian, 11, and Sydney, 10.”

About how attending UH prepared him well for life, Sydner said:
“My experience in Hawaii was one of a kind. It has so much to do with why I am who I am today. It was good prep for life.” (HSB)

http://www.starbulletin.com/specialprojects/09/centurions/20090710_sydner_big_on_punt_returns.html

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