Dicky Lyons Jr. will leave Kentucky as one of the most popular and productive players in school history. Despite missing the second half of his senior year with a knee injury, Lyons ranks fourth all-time in career receiving yards (1,752) fifth in receptions (141) and tied for third in touchdown catches (18). Lyons' personality also made him a favorite with the fans and the media.
Question: Are all the horror stories you hear about rehab true?
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Answer: I was the first one who hurt my knee, and then Derrick Locke and Jess Beets hurt theirs after I did. I remember when they first got hurt, they both were saying, 'I'm not going to cry.' I tried to warn them. First it was Locke. He's saying, 'I'm not crying.' All of a sudden, he's crying. Beets did the same thing, and he ended up crying. You don't think it's going to be as hard as it is, but you can't understand how hard it is until you go through it."
Q: Have you gotten over missing the last half of your senior year, and if you have, how long did it take?
A: I don't think I'll ever really get over it. It's crazy. The last five years just flew by, but the last five weeks seem like forever. I've never been hurt like this in my life. I've always been able to walk it off. Then when you see that the team needs you, it gets really hard. Still, I want us to win these last two games so bad, even though I can't contribute. I just pray about it and try hard to get through it.
Q: What's your take on the struggles of the freshman re ceivers?
A: It's usually hard for all receivers when they first get here. Look at Steve Johnson. He's in the NFL, and he couldn't even get on the field two years ago. I know people have been hard on the young guys, but you've got to learn what to do. ... Every now and then, you'll get a guy like a Julio Jones, A.J. Green or Randall Cobb who can just come right in and play. But usually it takes time. These guys will get it figured out.
Q: You've become almost a cult hero since coming to Lexington. Has that surprised you?
A: I'm going through all the memories, and I couldn't be happier. I just fell in love with the city. Honestly, I came here just to play. I knew I had a lot to live up to since my dad was a great player here, but through everything, my dad told me just to be myself. I never lost my spirit. I saw your article this week on Winston Guy and how he's similar to me. I've told Winston the same thing: Just be yourself. The coaches were always getting on me telling me I couldn't be goofy all the time. But you can't take that away from a player. If you try and stop Terrell Owens from being T.O., he won't be T.O. on the field either. I tried to just be myself, and that was something I made sure of no matter how much grief I got.
Q: What do the next few months hold for you? When do y ou think you'll be able to run full-speed and work out?
A: I've already been surrounded by great people. Dr. James Andrews is willing to sit down with (NFL) scouts and talk with them about the prognosis of my knee so that they'll know that I'm in good shape. The way I look at it, if they say 6-8 months, I'll be back in five. If you think about it, a lot of great football players have been injured. Nowadays, it's not as big of a deal. A lot of guys come off injury and produce at the same or at a higher level. Steve (Johnson) and Keenan (Burton) call me all the time, and that keeps me going. They tell me all I need is a chance, and I think I'll get it.