It has been nearly a decade since Ryan Kalil has played football in Los Angeles.
Kalil, the veteran center for the Carolina Panthers, will make his return to the L.A. Coliseum as the Rams host the Panthers this Sunday. Kalil played on two national championship teams while at USC and was part of that historic run of 34 straight victories. During his time with the Trojans, Kalil never tasted defeat when he played at the Coliseum.
However, Kalil’s return to L.A. and the Coliseum might be bittersweet.
He suffered a shoulder injury during the Panthers 30-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals last week. According to reports, Kalil’s status for the game remains up in the air. Unfortunately, he might find himself on the sidelines for much of the game. The Panthers starting tight end Greg Olsen said he talked to Kalil on Monday and said that Kalil looked alright but was a little sore and banged up. It is expected that he will do everything he can to play in Sunday’s game. Kalil has many fond memories of the Coliseum.
In 2007, just one month before Carolina selected him in the draft, he proposed to his wife on the field at the Coliseum.
His memories are not relegated to the Coliseum. Kalil played high school football at Anaheim Servite in southern California and is a native of the area. USC won two straight AP national championships during Kalil’s freshman and sophomore years. During his junior year, the Trojans lost a heart-breaking game to Texas that gave the Longhorns the BCS national championship. Kalil fondly remembers a game back in 2004 when Aaron Rodgers was the starting quarterback for the California Golden Bears. Rodgers completed his first 23 passes and the Bears nearly pulled off a colossal upset over the heavily favored Trojans. However, the Trojans held on late in the game and beat the Bears 23-17.
Ryan Kalil has enjoyed a stellar career in the NFL.
He signed a two-year, $16.8 million extension back in June of this year, and he has been selected to five pro bowls. He has started all 16 games in five of the past seven years, and in 2013 he was selected as a first-team all-pro. Kalil stated that he was very excited when he heard of a possible move by the St. Louis Rams to L.A. Kalil’s wife also attended USC and they have three children together with a fourth child on the way. Whether or not Kalil plays, expect a rousing ovation from the dedicated Coliseum crowd when his presence is announced.