COLLEGE PARK--Ryan Schlothauer spent six long nights fighting for his life in intensive care at Baltimore’s Sinai Trauma Center. He had two collapsed lungs. Tubes protruded from his chest and nurses carried pails beside him to collect his blood.
The 6-5, 260-pound former Maryland tight end and special teams player was only a few months removed from finishing his playing career in College Park when he was stabbed while reportedly trying to intervene during an argument at a bar in Towson, Md.
And over the course of those six nights, he would think.
“I couldn’t walk,” he recalled at Maryland’s Pro Day on Tuesday in College Park. “I couldn’t picture myself getting back, but having something like this to look forward to it got my healthy back real quick.”
“This” was Pro Day, where scouts representing 24 NFL teams came to Byrd Stadium to watch Schlothauer and six other former Maryland Terrapins go through physical testing and position-specific drills in hopes of impressing a club.
Schlothauer registered a team-best 22 reps in the bench press on Tuesday, a vertical jump of 31 inches, and a broad jump of nine feet, two inches.
It was his second Pro Day at Maryland. He participated in the same event in March 2013, but head coach Randy Edsall decided to allow him back due to the circumstances that unfolded last year.
“[He] didn’t really have an opportunity to see if any team was going to sign him as an undrafted free agent,” Edsall said on Tuesday. “To have him out here today...this is what it is. It’s Maryland football. It’s a family. To be able to have those guys come back and take another opportunity...this is just great.”
Once released from the hospital, Schlothauer began his year-long trek back to the football field. He trained with a representative from Under Armour, Chris Welsh, who, Schlothauer recalls, pushed him to make daily runs up Federal Hill in Baltimore to accelerate his rehabilitation.
Throughout it, he says, he also grew more involved in his church and gave speeches to youth groups in the area.
“I couldn’t do it on my own. I couldn’t,” Schlothauer said. “I have the motivation, but I didn’t know what to do. Not many get back to that to full health in less than a year.”
And now there he was, the hulking 24-year-old running shuttle drills and throwing a 225-pound bar in the air while NFL scouts observed him and took notes. His parents have urged him to finish earning his MBA, which was halted by his recovery.
But, Schlothauer says, there is a time and place for that. That time is not right now.
“My mindset, get my health back and try to play football. I’m still young. I’m still ready to play.”