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Chris Owusu gets his final play

11/27/2011

STANFORD, Calif. -- Just one last time, Stanford head coach David Shaw asked Chris Owusu to show off his speed.

But only if it was absolutely necessary.

The last time the wide receiver was in a game, he was being loaded into an ambulance at Oregon State after suffering his second concussion in as many weeks and his third in the past 13 months. It was a horrific site that probably marked the end of his college career. Until Saturday night.

As the Cardinal offense assumed the victory formation to close out a 28-14 win over Notre Dame, Owusu made an appearance as the deep "safety." One more play on his home field to end his career.

His instructions were explicit. If anything out of the ordinary happens, run -- fast.

"I made sure in no uncertain terms that he would not have contact with anybody," Shaw said. "If for some reason that ball was fumbled and they scooped it up and they were about to score, Chris was under strict instructions to run off the field and run away from everybody. He was going to be safe. There was no chance for anything to happen there."

Owusu came out dressed in full pads for the pregame warm-ups. For senior night, it was a special occasion. It was also a symbolic passing of the guard. Ty Montgomery, the true freshman who replaced Owusu in the starting lineup, and is expected to be Stanford's deep threat in the coming years, called it an emotional moment.

"It meant a lot -- and I know it meant a lot to Chris," said Montgomery, who had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. "He's mentored me a lot throughout the whole year. I wanted to have a great game for him. Then to see him come out for warm-ups and be on the field at the end, it really touched me to see that."

Owusu's future -- be it the immediate future with Stanford's to-be-determined bowl game, or his future on a professional football field -- remains unclear.

"Justifiably so, he has to pass a lot of tests," Shaw said. "There are a lot of things that need to be signed off before he sets foot on a football field. There have been guys that have had the same history and have played at the next level and been great. As of right now, we don't know. But we're not going to worry about that. I'm just glad Chris is healthy and getting better every day.

"... There is nobody that has given his body more, nobody that has been hit harder in the last four years than Chris Owusu ... I love Chris Owusu as a human being. If there is anything I can do for Chris, I'm going to do it."