When Curry Sexton arrived for a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings last month he was confident he would earn a contract with the team and compete for a roster spot throughout the summer.
For two days, it seemed like the former Kansas State receiver and Abilene native was on his way. He was adapting to a new playbook and making nifty catches, including a touchdown grab on a go-route early into his second practice. But that high quickly evaporated. As Sexton reeled in the football he felt pain in his leg. It over extended and he was diagnosed with a pulled hamstring.
Just like that, his tryout was over. So were his days of strapping on a helmet.
“My best highlight was also the last play of my career,” Sexton said. “It was disappointing, because had I not gotten hurt I think I would still be there. At the same time, I really am at peace with the fact that I am done playing football.
“I had a lot of fun doing it, playing it over the years. I am ready to move on to what is next, starting with teaching the game to young kids across the state and helping high schoolers enhance their abilities. I am really looking forward to it.”
Sexton is touring the Sunflower State for the next month, along with former K-State quarterback Jake Waters, as a lead coach with the Kansas Gridiron Greats Youth Football Camp. They will be at Goddard High on June 26 and Topeka on July 16..
Waters did not get drafted following postseason shoulder surgery, but signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a few days working with the team, he was waived in favor of a veteran passer. He is currently staying in shape, hoping to land with another NFL organization.
Last season, they combined for countless highlights and helped lead the Wildcats to nine victories and an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. Waters threw for 3,501 yards and 22 touchdowns on top of 484 yards and nine touchdowns rushing. Sexton caught 79 passes for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns. This summer, they hope to pass on some of the secrets to campers.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Sexton said. “Getting to interact with the kids who all love football more than anything, I mean, you can’t beat that. It’s not like college, where it is more of a job than a game. It is still a game for them.”
Running a youth football camp should act as a good segue for Sexton into his next line of work — football coach.
Sexton has long stated his desire to transition from player to coach or talent evaluator. Originally, he planned to seek employment as a college graduate assistant instead of pursuing the NFL, but he played so well as a senior that he felt he needed to at least try to play professionally. Friends also told him the experience would help him later as a coach.
In time, he suspects that will be true. For now, Sexton is exploring all coaching options, including at K-State. The Wildcats don’t have any coaching openings — few staffs do this time of year — but he has expressed interest in future positions.
Sexton doesn’t know where his next stop will be, but, much like his upcoming youth camps, he is looking forward to it.
“Coaching is what I have always wanted to do,” Sexton said. “The opportunity to work with kids directly and teach people, like Coach (Andre) Coleman and Coach (Michael) Smith did for me, that intrigues me a lot more than sitting in an office. That is the part of the job I appreciate the most. I can say good coaching had a tremendous influence on my life.”