Former Trojan Tynes comes through in the clutch

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lawrence Tynes knows how to deliver under pressure.

The former Troy Trojan, and current New York Giants placekicker was back in Alabama for Trojan head coach Larry Blakeney's 20th anniversary roast, held at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery Saturday night.

Tynes was the guest roaster chosen to represent all former players who played under Blakeney.

Affectionately known as L.T. to those in the Troy community, Tynes didn't disappoint.

Tynes delivered as calmly as the 47-yard field goal he nailed in overtime of the 2008 NFC Championship Game to send his team to the Super Bowl, where they defeated the New England Patriots.

"Coach Blakeney has meant so much to me personally and you can see the impact he's had a on a lot of his former players," Tynes said.  "I would come to any event in which he's honored because he's been one of the best around at molding his players into young men."

After a standout collegiate career, Tynes endured several ups and downs in his early years as a professional.

After stints with the Kansas City Chiefs (twice), NFL Europe's Scottish Claymores, and the CFL with the Ottawa Renegades, Tynes found a home with the Giants in 2007.

Throughout his journey, Tynes recalled the lessons he learned during his time in Troy, which strengthened his resolve to never quit despite bouncing around.

"Mental toughness is a staple of all Troy football teams," Tynes said.  "I learned that here and specifically from Coach Blakeney.  Just because one door closed doesn't mean another one isn't going to open."

Tynes, who played at Troy when it was still a Division 1-AA school known as Troy State, has kept up with Troy during its move to Division 1 and eventually to the Sun-Belt Conference.

"We were a powerhouse I-AA team when I was there," Tynes said.  "I just think that now the national media has found out what Troy is about. This is a great program and I think within the next 10-15 years, we're going to see a consistently ranked Troy team in the top 25."

Tynes was part of a group of over 30 former players who were in attendance to show their support for Blakeney.

During the last decade, Troy has turned into an NFL factory sending numerous players to the professional level, and Tynes recognizes his part in a growing fraternity.

"I love watching the Troy guys play," Tynes said.  "I love watching Leodis (McKelvin) play and become a great return man.  Twice a year, I hate Demarcus Ware.  But after that final whistle, we're friends again.  He's one of the best defensive players in the game and likewise for Osi (Umenyiora) so there's guys everywhere. It's important because we are a family and we're close-knit.  Anytime they are on, I'm rooting for them."

The future has never been brighter for the Troy Trojan football program thanks to the contributions made by Blakeney and his former players.  For Tynes, his personal football journey parallels that of his alma mater.

"I've had a nice career," Tynes said.  "If it ended tomorrow, I'd be happy.  But I plan to keep on playing until I'm 40 years old.  They just moved the kickoff line up 5 yards, so that can only help me."  

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