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A spirit that is not afraid

Owen Pappoe: 'It's great to be back'

<p>Owen Pappoe ahead of a game against Akron on Sept. 4, 2021, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.</p>

Owen Pappoe ahead of a game against Akron on Sept. 4, 2021, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.

Four games. That’s how long linebacker Owen Pappoe had to wait until he was able to get back on the field. 

Pappoe has been suffering from an injury that’s kept him on the sidelines since the Penn State game, up until the Tigers faced Ole Miss in Jordan-Hare where Pappoe made his return. 

“It was great to be back," Pappoe said. "The energy was great. That was the liveliest I’ve seen Jordan-Hare stadium with all the lights and the fireworks and stuff”.

But Pappoe hasn’t simply been on the sidelines during his injury hiatus. He’s been an active part of this Auburn football team behind the scenes. He described how he’s been able to be an influence and a leader, even when he was not able to be an active participant in games or practice. 

“Just from being a really experienced guy on the team, whether it's Wesley [Steiner] out there on the field, going up to him and giving him pointers or tips on how he can get off a block quicker," Pappoe said. "Even talking to the young guys, who are trying to get on the field but they probably think that ‘Oh coach is overlooking me’ or something you know, just giving them words of encouragement.”

The linebacker described the process of trying to find ways to help others as what helped him make it through a tedious and frustrating season of his career.

“But, really just finding anything I can do, other than the fact that I’m not on the field, anything I can do to help, that’s what helped me get through this hard time," Pappoe said.   

As he and the rest of the Auburn defense prepare for Texas A&M on the road, Pappoe is looking forward to the mission they have to accomplish and not backward to what he might have missed. 

“It is what it is," Pappoe said. "You can’t ponder on it too much. There’s nothing I can do to go back and change it, even though I wish I could. But all that matters is that I’m back now and I’m just looking forward to getting better and picking up where I left off." 

Kristen Carr | Sports Writer

Kristen is a sophomore majoring in journalism with a minor in business. She is also the host of our sports podcast, Page 8, that can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. 

Twitter: @kristencarrau

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