PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A former Oregon State runningback-turned-XFL player whose dreams were dashed when the league disintegrated earlier this month amid the novel coronavirus pandemic is speaking out about the road ahead of him.
Football has always been a passion for Tim Cook, who went to a junior college to play after high school before choosing Oregon State University to be his next home.
“I loved Oregon State,” Cook said. “It’s one of those moments that I will never forget, running out of the tunnel in the uniform was special.”
Cook was released after a season with the Beavers, and although he said he was disappointed, he was preparing himself for what was next. “I know what I am capable of … I had to believe in myself and I did,” Cook said.
After training countless hours for his next opportunity to play football, a new league was in the works: the American Alliance Football league. Cook saw an opportunity and decided to take full advantage of it.
“It was another way to get on tape and show the NFL what I can do,” he said of his thinking at the time.
Unfortunately, things in the American Alliance came to an abrupt end when the league was forced to end its operations due to the lack of funding. Cook says the news blindsided him.
“After practice one day, we were called into a team meeting and they basically told us it was over,” he said.
Despite this heartbreaking turn in his football journey, Cook said he wasn’t deterred and then learned of another football league that planned to start up, with this one seeming more promising.
“The XFL had everything going for them,” he said. “There was a good TV deal, great players and just so much of that was going right. I was excited for it.”
Cook was the first overall pick for the New York Guardians, and with this opportunity, Cook said he could not only continue to play the sport he loved, he could also use it as a way to show he belonged to play beside some of the best. But then, his dreams were halted by something that very few saw coming: the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“It was in the middle of the season and we were told that COVID-19 was a lot more serious than everyone thought,” Cook said, adding, “They wanted to make sure that we were safe and the best way to do that was to terminate the XFL.”
After everything Cook has been through, he still knows what he is capable of and is still pursuing his dream of getting back on an NFL roster.
“I know what I can do, and I believe in myself.”