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tel reynolds
Tel Reynolds

The writing wasn't on the wall - it wasn't anywhere - but Tel Reynolds can take a hint.

If an assistant maybe mentions, with a knowing nod, how tough it is on a football player not getting financial aid, well, the player will figure it out.

So Tel Reynolds, talented younger brother of Montana Grizzlies' running back Chase Reynolds, hung up his cleats this spring. He hung up his backpack, too.

"I was broke, constantly worrying about classes and I was still there for free," he said Tuesday. "I was having fun at spring ball, but everything else was tough. I wish I could've stuck with it."

Reynolds came to UM in the footsteps of his ballyhooed brother, who led Drummond to three 8-man football titles before joining the Griz.

The last two falls Chase Reynolds has rung up a total of 3,085 yards rushing, which puts him in Walter Payton Award territory.

Tel languished. He can be refreshingly honest, like a few years ago when he was a high school junior, talking about a serious car accident that involved underage drinking.

So when he says, "I didn't come to school for the right reasons," you can appreciate that. You can also make an argument that his intentions were good, even if his execution poor.

He wanted to play alongside his brother, which his car wreck prevented in high school.

Two fractured vertebrae kept him off the prep gridiron until his senior year, when - after a stint on a high school rugby team gave him and his doctor confidence - he was medically cleared to play.

He ran for 926 yards in 2007, helping the Trojans to their fourth title in five seasons. The following fall he walked onto the Griz, and he didn't do half bad.

In the spring of 2009 he ran for 118 yards on eight carries during the Grizzlies' first scrimmage.

He leaves UM having played in two games, last fall. He played on the punt return team in the first game against Western State and later against Weber.

Reynolds was back at it in March, and spring ball ended with a scrimmage in Butte. He took a kickoff back 96 yards for a score.

Not quite a month later, he is running a lawn care company called Dawn Til Dusk, branched off from his brother-in-law Jake DeLude's business in Helena.

He admits he's not the greatest student, but if his class attendance wasn't perfect, it wasn't an issue. It's probably a testament to the harsh world of the walk-on that Reynolds only had to run the M once - because he was late to practice.

He might get back to rugby, because he doesn't want the days of running and hitting and tackling to be over, even if his UM career is.

"I played in a game, I was part of the team, and I got to run out of that tunnel," he says. "A lot of people dream about doing that."

His final act as a Griz football player could be either ignoble or fitting, depending on your outlook. After that Butte scrimmage, the team paired up for a wheelbarrow race. Tel and Chase were the winners.

"Last to first," Tel noted. "When Chase was on the ground, we were last. But when we switched, and I was on the ground, we hauled.

"I guess I can hand-walk faster," he added. "He can still run faster than me, though."

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 523-5247 or at fneighbor@missoulian.com.

 

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