Erskine’s journey from playoffs to playbook

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

The reality of retirement is one that plagues the mind of any athlete. Whether the limiting factor is time, health, or simply desire, a “last time” is a guaranteed milestone of every player’s career. For many athletes, the most painful aspect about this reality is that the same time spent deepening their love for the sport runs on the same clock as their time left on the field. When time runs out sooner than expected, several players find themselves asking, “What do I do now?” Retired Bison quarterback and running back Cinjun Erskine ’20 was forced to ask himself this particular question after only one college football season.

Erskine’s relationship with football was far from love at first sight.

“When I started with flag football around fourth grade, I absolutely hated it,” Erskine said. “I started up again a few years after quitting, and it came easy to me then. After that, I kept playing and getting better, and I started looking to college.”

The opportunity to play for Head Coach Joe Susan was what ultimately drew him in to sign to play collegiate football in a Bison uniform.

“He’s everything I could ever ask for in a coach. He’s someone I felt could help me reach my best, and someone I wanted to work hard for. You can’t get much better than that for college,” Erskine said.

However, Erskine’s time playing for Susan was shorter than he had imagined it would be.

After a preseason injury led to two back surgeries during his sophomore year, Erskine made the difficult decision to hang up his jersey for good. This departure from the field did not mean the end of the road for Erksine; this transition only marked a new beginning of relationship with football.

Erskine has since taken on the role of what Susan calls a “student assistant coach” for the Orange and Blue, a job that includes completing office work, drawing up cards, and watching film in preparation for game days. Although he no longer competes in the stadium with his teammates, his current behind-the-scenes job has left him with a deeper appreciation of what went into his days on the field.

“Appreciation has been a lot more real. The coaches put in endless hours that sometimes get overlooked. The players are out there on Saturday, but there’s endless and endless hours of coaching preparation that’s done behind the scene that, as a player, you don’t see. It’s opened up my eyes about how much time coaches put into their players,” Erskine said.

Erskine says he will “absolutely” return to this coaching role in his senior year. He views this opportunity as a valuable experience that will bring him closer to attaining a post-graduate career in football.

“I’m hoping to coach [football] in the future, maybe at college. I’m really using this as a way to learn from the coaching staff. Eventually, I want to get into the depth of it all and do the dirty work,” he said. “A lot of great coaches have come out of Bucknell, and this is getting me closer to that level.”

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