Iowa Hawkeyes fullback Drake Kulick is apparently keeping his head held high after suffering a gruesome injury on the field Friday.
Kulick reportedly broke his left leg during a pileup in the team’s first scrimmage play of their regular season finale. Reports claim that the former linebacker was just on the field for several minutes before he was carted off of the turf at Kinnick Stadium with his injured leg leg in a splint.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz consoles injured fullback Drake Kulick early in Friday’s game against Nebraska. pic.twitter.com/mEDSHyHiX0
— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) November 26, 2016
Even though Drake suffered an undoubtedly painful injury, it was clear that he did not want his teammates to lose their focus. As he was transported to the locker room, Kulick reportedly tried to encourage his teammates to stay pumped. He even managed to wave at the crowds along the way.
— Annabel Graettinger (@a_graettinger3) November 26, 2016
Drake Kulick was still barking at his teammates as he got carted off the field. That’s a passionate guy.
— Blake Dowson (@BRDowson) November 25, 2016
Drake Kulick’s pain tolerance must be insane. I’d be vomiting in that cart.
— Zack Creglow (@ZackCreglow) November 25, 2016
Thumbs up from Drake Kulick, Muscatine native. Left leg break, likely. We’re back again, no fullback this time.
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) November 25, 2016
Kulick continued his journey of encouraging his teammates on Saturday morning by paying tribute to his team and “Hawkeye Nation” on Instagram. In addition to referencing his injury and determination to not let it stop him, Drake Kulick encouraged his teammates and fans to keep moving forward as well.
“Thank y’all so much for all of the kind words I’ve received… Y’all truly are the best fans in the country, and it’s truly amazing to feel the support y’all have for this team, and each player on it! I’m going to be just fine, and with a little rehab be back better than ever! To my teammates, my brothers… 20 days ago we were at a crossroads and easily could’ve quit fighting, but that’s just not who this team is. The way everyone responded to adversity makes me so…proud to be a Hawkeye, and call y’all my brothers! So to my brothers, and to Hawkeye Nation, I love y’all!”
Drake concluded his heartwarming statement by telling his teammates that “now it’s time to get number 9.”
The Iowa Hawkeyes’ game against Nebraska may have had a rocky first quarter Friday – especially after losing two of team’s key starters to injuries in the first quarter. In addition to Drake Kulick’s broken leg, cornerback Manny Rugamba suffered a right arm injury in the same quarter that took him out of the game as well. Perhaps Kulick’s on-field inspiration struck a nerve, though, because the Hawkeyes did not disappoint with their performance for the rest of the game.
— Steve Batterson (@sbatt79) August 13, 2016
By the end of the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes were way up – beating Nebraska 40-10. Their season-ending victory brought their record up to 8-4 for the year as well as 6-3 in Big Ten play.
Friday’s victory was big for the team in a number of different ways – one of which means that they triumphantly ended the year with a winning season. However, it was a big deal for head coach Kirk Ferentz for about 500,000 more reasons. According to Hawk Central, Ferentz secured a guaranteed bonus of $500,000 added to his pay for 2016 with Friday’s victory against Nebraska. How? According to the terms of his contract extension (effective September 5, 2016), he will receive a $500,000 bonus for every season that ends with the Hawkeyes winning at least 8 games.
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) November 26, 2016
That $500,000 is not the only bonus on the line for Ferentz this season. According to the report, he can get another $100,000 just for leading his team toward a bowl game along with an additional $125,000 if the Hawkeyes end up in the Top 25.
It will be quite some time before Drake Kulick is able to get back on the field again. However, from the inspirational aftermath of his gruesome injury, it is apparently clear that he will continue to morally support and boost his team from the sideline.
[Featured Image by Charlie Neibergall/AP Images]