Not being able to leave the field under his own power wasn’t the graceful exit from football that Jordan Bedan envisioned.

Now, the Center Grove alumnus gets to write a new ending to his career.

The NCAA has granted Bedan a sixth year with the University of Indianapolis, allowing him to complete his four years of athletics eligibility.

Bedan, who redshirted his first season at UIndy, sustained a torn right ACL in the third game last season and missed the remainder of the season.

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“I tore it the first offensive series we had that game,” Bedan said. “I thought it was just normal football pain, so I went out for the second series and fell down.

“Being injured was very hard. A big shock. But my friends on the offensive line were a big help to me.”

Bedan had surgery in November. A portion of patella tendon from Bedan’s right kneecap was used to replace the anterior cruciate ligament.

The three titanium screws used will be with Bedan for the rest of his life.

For two weeks, Bedan used crutches to get around. He went to twice-weekly rehabilitation sessions for about five months.

A second team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference choice in 2013 and 14 — as a left tackle and right guard, respectively — Bedan was voted first team as a redshirt junior. He started all 11 games at right guard for an offense ranked second in Division II for fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (3.3).

Bedan wasn’t able to take part in the Greyhounds’ annual spring game in April. This week, with his right knee back to full strength, he was cleared to take part in all team activities.

Having turned 24 in February, Bedan knows he’s one of the graybeards on the UIndy roster this fall. At times he will be blocking defensive players six years younger than him.

“At first, it was a little bit of a hard decision whether to come back,” Bedan said. “It was hard seeing linemen like (Hayden) Janney and (Chad) Eppley leave, but it was harder to see my football career go away.

“It’s hard to see yourself leaving the game that way.”

Beginning in 2013, Bedan started 38 consecutive games for UIndy. He was equally durable during his three varsity seasons at Center Grove (2009-11), never once missing a start.

Head coach Bob Bartolomeo, who has led the Greyhounds to a 58-23 record since taking over the program in 2010, said Bedan’s return would be a big step toward a potential eighth consecutive winning season.

“Jordan can play all three positions (tackle, guard or center) for us. He’s a very versatile player. His return is huge for us because he’s a leader who has been there, done that,” Bartolomeo said. “Jordan is a guy who comes to work and takes his work seriously.

“But he’s also a bubbly guy who keeps everybody loose. We’re tickled pink he decided to come back.”

The Bedan file

Jordan Bedan

Age: 24

Born: Greenwood

Family: Parents Jack and Bettie; brother John, 31; sister Hannah, 26

High school: Center Grove (2012)

College: University of Indianapolis (2018)

Majors: Community public health and business administration

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.