Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Tough Break for Ex-Baker County QB; Sirk Was on Track to Lead Duke Offense until Third Achilles Injury Wiped out Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Tough Break for Ex-Baker County QB; Sirk Was on Track to Lead Duke Offense until Third Achilles Injury Wiped out Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk doesn't feel unlucky, jinxed or snakebit.

The former Baker County High School player is keeping a positive attitude after he suffered his third Achilles tendon injury last Thursday - his second since February - and will miss the entire 2016 season. He will undergo surgery on Friday.

Before the injury, Sirk was hoping to parlay a big senior season into a shot at the NFL. Now he has to wait for the doctor's prognosis after the surgery before mulling his options.

He can request a medical redshirt and return to Duke next year if it's granted.

"No decisions have been made,'' he said.

Sirk missed the 2013 season after suffering a ruptured right Achilles tendon. Then he ruptured his left Achilles tendon on Feb. 9 before suffering a partial tear of the same tendon last Thursday. All three injuries occurred during the offseason.

Through it all, Sirk refuses to be pessimistic.

"That's who I am and I have stayed positive through the whole thing,'' he said. "That's how I carry myself. It happened for a reason. I just don't know the reason yet.''

Ryan Sulkowski, who coached Sirk in his final two seasons at Baker County High in 2010 and 2011, and is now coach at Coffee County Central High in Manchester, Tenn., said he felt badly for Sirk when he heard the news, but, "He picked me back up.''

"When I talked to him, he wasn't a kid that was down on his luck or feeling sorry for himself,'' Sulkowski said. "He sees it as another challenge in his life that he has to overcome and that's the beautiful thing about him. He's determined.

"Thomas was always a smart player, just a phenomenal athlete, a team leader and he could do it all for us.''

Sirk was a wide receiver in 2010 and played some wildcat in Sulkowski's first year. Then the coach talked quarterback Jeremy Wannamaker into switching to running back so Sirk could be the quarterback in his senior year.

"They came into my office and said, 'We've agreed. …

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