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 On the final series of Sul Ross State's regular season, Mike Flynt - college football's ultimate senior - truly completed his comeback.
The 59-year-old grandfather played outside linebacker for the last 3:39 of a 56-35 loss to Mississippi College at home in Alpine, Texas. Flynt was part of a gang tackle on his very first play and held his ground when another play that came his way. There were four competitive snaps and three kneel-downs during his first time playing defense since 1970.
``It was amazing, just amazing, to be out there playing with those young men,'' Flynt said.
When he trotted out to replace Fernie Acosta at outside linebacker, Flynt wasn't thinking about this being the culmination of his amazing return. He was thinking like a football player.
``I was totally focused on my responsibilities, what I was supposed to do,'' he said. ``Everyone keeps telling me that when I went in the crowd was awesome, but I didn't hear it.''
This was the fifth straight game Flynt has been on the field, but all the other times No. 49 trotted out it was for special teams. This entrance came following a timeout by Sul Ross coach Steve Wright.
``Whenever he's gone in on extra points and field goals it drew a great reaction from the crowd, but the crowd just lit up this time,'' said Travis Hendryx, the school's sports information director. ``The press box did, too. We've all been waiting so long for that to happen. I'm glad he was able to get in and see some action at linebacker.''
Flynt is believed to be the second-oldest player in college football history. A 60-year-old played a decade ago, but for only one play. Thus, Flynt can be considered the oldest regular contributor ever to lace 'em up.
His career isn't totally over, either.
Sul Ross is finalizing plans for an 11th game, an exhibition in Chihuahua, Mexico, against Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua on Dec. 5. With a few more weeks of rest, Flynt is hoping a nagging groin problem will heal enough for him to play more at linebacker - and maybe even make his first tackle since 1970.
``It's like our bowl game,'' Flynt said.
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