Brandon Weeden not making excuses
STILLWATER, Okla. -- After two fumbles and two interceptions with his banged-up thumb, Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is making no excuses.
He'd rather there be less attention paid to the splint on his right thumb, the one he smashed on an opponent's helmet in the Cowboys' season-opening win against Washington State. He'll say only that he has some "discomfort" and that it's worse when he has to take a snap from under center.
Hurt thumb, no thumb, whatever, it doesn't matter. I don't care if I don't have a thumb. You've got to take the snaps.” -- Brandon Weeden
Despite throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns in the 41-38 win against Troy on Saturday night, the gaffes have left Weeden answering questions about his thumb.
He's not going to use it as a crutch. He plans to be out there Saturday night when Oklahoma State (2-0) hosts Tulsa (1-1) -- and beyond.
"It could be sitting down here," Weeden said, motioning as though his thumb were dangling down by his wrist, "and I'm going to be playing. It could be just absolutely hurt. I'm going to play.
"I only have so many chances to play college football. I have 10 games left this year and 12 or 13 next year. I'm going to fight through it, no matter how bad it hurts."
After making a five-year foray into minor league baseball, Weeden is finally getting his chance to really play college football at age 26. He played in one game in 2008 and three times last year, including directing a second-half comeback against Colorado with Cowboys starter Zac Robinson injured.
This is Weeden's team, and only unproven freshmen are behind him on the depth chart.
"At this level, you're going to fight through nagging injuries. You're going to fight through pain. It's just the nature of the beast," Weeden said. "At the quarterback position, unfortunately it's your hands because you've got helmets coming in and flying in and you throw the ball so much. You've just got to be tough and fight through it."
Weeden said he's suffered any number of jammed fingers and cuts on his hand while playing quarterback, but this is unique because it's a thumb.
Instead of blaming his first fumble on the thumb, he said his brain is more at fault because he failed to pick up the Troy blitz that led to him getting hit. The second fumble -- lost on a botched snap as the Cowboys were trying to kneel down and run out the clock -- he finds simply unacceptable.
"Hurt thumb, no thumb, whatever, it doesn't matter," Weeden said. "I don't care if I don't have a thumb. You've got to take the snaps."
Coach Mike Gundy said the injury has been blown out of proportion. From his days as OSU's quarterback, he says his thumb no longer stays in joint and one of his fingers has a joint that is "smashed like a pancake."
"Brandon is doing fine," Gundy said. "He's very fortunate that he's big and strong, and he's got big hands and he can throw it down the field."
Weeden said he's not looking for sympathy. And he's definitely not going to wave his sore thumb in the face of linemen who have been slugging it out in the trenches or other teammates who have bumps and bruises that won't end up in the spotlight.
"They're hurting, too. I know they're hurting," he said. "They try not to show it, so I've got to try and do the same."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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