EUGENE — Ed Reinhardt Jr. nearly lost his life on the Autzen Stadium turf 28 years ago. Saturday, he stood with his father inside the Oregon 'O' at midfield and proudly received a pregame introduction.
The former Colorado tight end suffered a traumatic brain injury during a game against the Ducks on Sept. 15, 1984.
Following an otherwise normal tackle by Oregon safeties Dan Wilken and Jeff Williams, Reinhardt stumbled to the Colorado sideline and collapsed.
He was in a coma for 62 days and was left with lifelong physical and mental disabilities.
Saturday he returned to watch his beloved Buffaloes lose to the No. 2 Ducks, 70-14.
Ed Reinhardt Sr. said the plan to bring Ed Jr. back to Eugene this weekend had been in the works for about six months. The initial idea was for them to just sit in the stands for the game, but it evolved into so much more.
The Reinhardts were on the field during pregame warmups, giving Ed Jr. a chance to see Colorado coach Jon Embree, a friend and teammate on the '84 Colorado team.
The two shared a long embrace on the field Saturday.
"When they hugged, I just got chills," Ed Sr. said.
Though the stadium was only half full when the Reinhardts made their way out to midfield for a quick presentation, the applause was loud and long.
Ed Jr. wore a Colorado jacket and Ed Sr. wore a 1994 Oregon Rose Bowl jacket — Ed Jr.'s brother Matthew was a reserve tight end for the Ducks in 1993 and 1994.
"Pretty good; it was fun," said Ed Jr., 47, who is still a fit 6-foot-7 despite being partially paralyzed on the right side of his body.
Oregon gave the Reinhardts a private suite for the game and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and former Ducks coach Rich Brooks, who was on the sideline for Oregon the day Ed Jr. was injured, paid a visit at halftime.
"We didn't expect anything like this," Ed Sr. said.
The Reinhardts will remain in town to speak at an Oregon Club event on Monday and at a Daisy Ducks event Tuesday.
REMINGTON RETURNS: Defensive lineman Isaac Remington returned to the starting lineup Saturday. He was also a team captain.
It was quite a turnaround for a player who started the week on suspension after getting cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants on Oct. 12.
But on Tuesday, Eugene prosecutors declined to pursue DUII charges because Remington's blood alcohol level was only 0.06. The statewide limit is 0.08.
The senior missed the game against Arizona State on Oct. 18, which marked a return to his home state for the Queen Creek, Ariz., native.
He had one tackle against Colorado on Saturday.
INJURY UPDATE: The only injury issues that lingered for Oregon heading into Saturday's game were whether starting linebackers Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, and starting tight end Colt Lyerla would play after being dinged up in recent weeks.
Clay did start and play, but Lyerla and Alonso sat out the game. They were quickly joined on the sideline by two other starters.
Defensive end Dion Jordan left in the first quarter with an apparent right arm/shoulder injury, and starting right guard Mana Greig left with an apparent right knee injury also in the first quarter.
Jordan was taken to the locker room before halftime and returned for the third quarter wearing a hoodie with his right arm tucked inside.
Jordan, one of 12 finalists for the Butkus Award, was all-Pac-12 in 2011 and is tied for the team lead with five sacks.
Greig, a reserve lineman, left early in the first quarter and spent the rest of the game on crutches with a brace on his right knee.
As a policy, Oregon doesn't give updates or information on injuries.
COLORADO REACTS: Colorado knew Oregon's players would be fast, but seeing it on film and seeing it on the field are two different things.
When asked if the Ducks' team speed was the real deal, Buffaloes coach Jon Embree answered, "Yep, every bit of it."
For proof, he pointed to De'Anthony Thomas' 73-yard punt return in the second quarter.
"We had three guys, maybe four, that had a shot at him and I don't know if we touched him," Embree said. "They have speed at every position "… and it showed."
Embree also said he told his struggling team to take a long, hard look at the Ducks because "that's what a championship team looks like."