The miraculous comeback of Henry Josey, one of the most heartwarming stories of the 2013 season, will continue in the NFL.
Missouri announced Tuesday afternoon that the running back has decided to bypass his final year of eligibility and make himself available for the 2014 NFL Draft. In a statement released through the university, Josey said his decision to leave thew Tigers was “difficult” and “bittersweet.”
“This is really a bittersweet decision to make,” said Josey. “I’m so grateful to Mizzou and my coaches and teammates and fans for all of their support and everything they’ve meant to me these past four years. It’s difficult to think I won’t be with them next year.
“But I’m really excited to have a chance to play professionally and work on fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid. I can’t possibly express how much I owe to so many people for helping me get to this position, my doctors, trainers, strength coaches, everyone who pushed me and helped me and believed in me, and of course my coaches for trusting me. To the Mizzou fans, thanks so much for all of your prayers and thoughts the past couple of years, you truly inspired me to get back on the field. I’m going to miss my teammates but I know they’ll do great things and I will always be a Mizzou Tiger.”
In 2011, Josey suffered what a team doctor described as “a one-in-a-million injury” that involved a torn ACL and MCL as well as ruptured patellar tendons. The injury was so devastating that it knocked him out for the entire 2012 season.
Josey returned in 2013 to rush for 1,166 and 16 touchdowns, the latter total good for second in the SEC.
Head coach Gary Pinkel said Josey would be missed as much off the field as he will on it.
“Henry Josey is a first-class person any way you cut it, and anytime you take that out of your program, it leaves a void,” said Pinkel. ”He is such an amazing competitor, and I’ve said time and again just how inspiring he has been for our team the last two years. We were so proud of him for overcoming everything he had to deal with, and to be such a positive influence on and off the field. We’re going to miss him, no question, but Henry wants to pursue his dream of playing professionally and we wish him nothing but the best and we’ll do everything we can to help him reach that goal. The Mizzou Football program is in better shape because of his efforts, so we’re grateful for the time he spent with us, and we know he’ll represent Mizzou well going forward.”