Lennon Creer grabbed his left arm and pulled on the light-red plastic band that rested just above his wrist.
The rookie running back’s chances of cracking the Redskins’ roster out of training camp are slim, but if he needs any added motivation, Creer can simply glance at the faded band on his wrist, inscribed “TD #22.” Those are the initials and jersey number of his teammate at Louisiana Tech, Tyrone Duplessis.
Duplessis died of a heart attack in February. The bands were given to friends and family in his memory.
“He was a good dude, man,” said Creer. “He was [a] fun-loving, funny, jokester. I think everybody liked him.”
Just 21 years old, Duplessis was set to replace Creer this fall as the Bulldogs’ starting running back. The two were close friends and roommates on road trips. Duplessis stayed in touch with Creer after he left campus, wishing him the best as he tried to make it in pro ball.
Creer left high school in 2007 as the top running back in the state of Texas. He was a two-time state champion at Tatum High in east Texas and said “pretty much everybody in the nation” was after him, he said.
He went to Tennessee, but transferred after his sophomore year when the Volunteers fired head coach Phillip Fulmer. He said he didn’t like where the program was headed and landed at Louisiana Tech.
NCAA transfer rules forced Creer to sit out the 2009 season. In his last two seasons, he averaged 95 yards per game and scored 19 touchdowns. He finished third both years in rushing in the Western Athletic Conference.
Creer said about six teams inquired about him before the NFL Draft but he went undrafted.
“When I look at my wrist it reminds me how short life is and to not take anything for granted,” Creer said.