Northern Colorado punter relieved after attacker found guilty
University of Northern Colorado senior punter Rafael Mendoza was in the team's weight room Thursday morning, standing under a squat machine, preparing his legs for the upcoming season, when the call came in.Nearly 11 months after he was attacked outside his college apartment, left with a stab wound in his kicking leg that ran 5 inches deep, the jury had reached a verdict in the case against his former teammate, Mitch Cozad.
ESPN.com has been following the story of the stabbing and other incidents involving the University of Northern Colorado football team since last season. Wayne Drehs' series of stories includes an extensive look at Rafael Mendoza's rehabilitation from the knife wounds in the weeks after the attack.
• FEAR AND FOOTBALL: Rafael Mendoza struggles to come to grips with an attempt on his life.
• WHEN TEAMMATES ATTACK: Should we be surprised by the alleged teammate sabotage at Northern Colorado?
• TEAM TURMOIL: A closer look at the University of Northern Colorado, a Division I-AA team that has seen plenty of trouble in recent months.
It's just over the top. Frankly, if we want to get philosophical, the whole country has gone over the top. Obviously this guy is different. Not everybody is like Mitch Cozad. But I believe he is a symptom of the pressure we put on our athletes today. I have no question about that.
Weld (Colorado) County District Attorney Ken Buck
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