Derham Cato entered the old University of Washington team, where Don James used to address his players and team media interviews are conducted now, and walked to a front table without a limp, crutches, anything to lean on.
The tight-ends coach met with reporters for the first time since he was injured at Oregon State, cut down on the sideline during a punt early in the game and taken away to a local hospital.
Outside of learning that Cato has recovered without surgery or anything getting in the way of his coaching, the biggest revelation from the mishap previously undisclosed was this:
The second year assistant coach got hit by friendly fire — Cato was taken out by a Husky player.
It was a special-teamer who lines up on the outside and is known as "a gunner," someone he didn't identify.
"I'm fine, it's no big deal," he said. "I need to have more awareness, right? It's on me."
Cato said he was looking away from the UW player, watching a part of the punt coverage that was his responsibility, when he was taken off his feet. He was immediately transported to a local hospital, accompanied by the team doctor. He didn't rejoin the team until it was boarding the charter flight to go home.
The gunner got jammed up by an Oregon State player and sent flying in the direction of the helpless coach.
"I kind of got blindsided," Cato said. "I saw him at the last second and got hit. It is what is."
As a player, the UW assistant was a three-year starting defensive tackle at Dartmouth, last playing collegiately in 2004. Now considerably lighter, he carried a 6-foot-4, 275-pound frame back then.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, native later competed in the Arena Football League, NFL Europe, the Canadian Football League and afl2.
He's been with the UW football program for six seasons, the first four as an Husky offensive analyst for Chris Petersen's staff before Jimmy Lake hired him to be part of his new staff.
Cato, who reluctantly went to the hospital to be treated, joked that his reflexes weren't as sharp as they once.
"It was more embarrassing than anything, honestly," he said. "I thought I was past that stuff."
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