99 CJ Ah You, 42 Rufus Alexander, 92 Larry Birdine, 6 Jason Carter, 36 John Dailey, 46 Zach Latimer, 79 Chris Messner, 82 Laenar Nixon, 58 Calvin Thibodeaux, and and very special thanks to 12 Paul Thompson.
Mr. Thompson, I don't know if you have kids, but if you don't now, chances are you'll have them someday. Funny thing about kids: you never know when you'll have a chance to actually show them something positive around them.
Just this past weekend, I got to talk to a young Nascar fan (probably 10 or so years old), and show him something about character, about putting others and their needs and goals ahead of your own needs and goals, and how it can all work out.
This young Nascar fan, while watching the OU/A&M game with us, asked me to name my favorite player. Any team, any sport, pro or college.
The answer was easy.........."Paul Thompson" I answered.
And then I got to explain why. I told him how you had been faced with adversity almost every year of your five years at OU, and how you reacted. And how some other people had broken rules when tempted to do so, or had bolted when faced with adversity.
You have handled yourself in an absolutely exemplary manner, and you have shown a depth of character that is becoming more and more rare in sports these days. I am sure your trials over the past seasons have not been easy, and as you walk out of the SouthEast endzone tunnel Saturday night for the final time. You will be able to hold your head high and know that the Sooner Nation wishes there were more like you. I am just glad I will be at Owen Field to see it.
Thank you for giving me a chance to show this boy a good example about life. Thank you for being a positive influence. Paul, you are a champion at the game that matters most, life. You set an example that others want to follow and tell their children about, which is worth more than any amount of money. You have my respect. You somehow found a way to make it happen not only for yourself, but for the team, and for all of us fans.
Thank you, Paul, for being a Sooner.