It is that time of year ... there is a little chill in the morning, the leaves are starting to turn and across the country and numerous college football players like Tim McNerney are getting ready for their seasons.
A year ago, McNerney, a senior at Washington & Jefferson College -- an NCAA Division III school of about 1,500 students, 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh -- was a team captain and starting running back that had helped lead the Presidents to a 4-1 start to the season.
Everything changed on October 3, as McNerney and a friend were walking back to campus after a night on the town and McNerney was killed in what was a robbery gone bad just footsteps from home.
There were memorials at Washington & Jefferson and at McNerney's high school -- Knoch H.S., 30 miles North of Pittsburgh. His teammates played their next scheduled game three days later with only 10 offensive starters on the first play as a tribute to their captain and while the Presidents fell on that day they rallied and eventually qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
They did the best they could to return to their everyday lives and move forward but undoubtedly over the course of the last year were thoughts about what happened that night and would the person or persons responsible be brought to justice.
Well some of those questions and prayers were answered this week as Washington, Pa., police announced that after a nine-month investigation three arrests have been made in the case.
Lt. Dan Stanek stated that the suspects had no connection to the football players or the college and said that the motive for the incident was robbery. All three suspects are facing multiple charges and are being held in the Washington County Jail without bond.
Just a day after the arrests were announced, Washington & Jefferson was pegged as a preseason favorite to win this year's Presidents Athletic Conference football title.
While the lives of the student-athletes, coaches and the entire Washington & Jefferson community will probably never be the same; here is hoping that as they have done for the last year they find strength in the memory of their fallen captain and teammate and go forward into the upcoming season.
I encourage all of you to look through the headlines about big time college football players and the big business that is now big time college football and all the things that go with it think of player like Tim McNerney and think of Washington & Jefferson.
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