PORTLAND -- Normally, players enter the Stott Community Field from an entrance that is close to the athletic complex. But one player hasn't had a normal week, and his entrance from the opposite end of the field put an immediate halt to Friday's Portland State spring football practice.
Steven Long, dressed in black T-shirt to match his black bandanna, walked onto the field and began talking to his teammates who were hanging on his every word.
"Bust you butt and work hard," he implored. "Because you never know what life is going to bring."
Who in the last week would be better to talk to about that than the former Lake Oswego star?
Five days ago, he was on an operating table at OHSU. His head was cut open, so surgeons could remove a small growth that developed on his brain.
"Being there (in the hospital) you see a lot of things," he said. "A lot of older people, and you see how blessed and fortunate I am to be where I am right now."
He's also very fortunate for his girlfriend and a teammate who performed beautifully when Steven began having seizures in the early-morning hours of last Thursday.
"Adam and Brogan are the real heroes here. They have saved me," Long said.
But Long and his adoptive parents aren't exactly sure what Adam and Brogan saved him from. There are too many variables about his family genetics.
"I think it comes the being adopted in Haiti," he said of the parasitic legion that was found on his brain.
"There are a lot of unknowns because I don't know my real parents."
Further testing should clear up some, if not all of the uncertainty.
Long may not know his real parents, but when he took those strides towards the practice field, it was clear, he had been reunited with his family.
"I miss you guys," he told them. "And it's good to see you again."