Travis Hunter, Henry Blackburn make peace after late hit in game

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Travis Hunter and the Colorado State safety whose late hit sent the Colorado standout to the hospital have put the incident behind them by meeting up for a conversation before going bowling.

Hunter and defensive back Henry Blackburn went to a bowling alley in the Boulder area on Wednesday to roll a few frames. The outing served as a way to make peace once and for all. Blackburn posted a video of them shaking hands and embracing.

On Thursday night, Hunter posted a video on YouTube of the two players hanging out on a bench, talking and getting to know each other, before heading to the lanes to knock down some pins.

Colorado Buffaloes football player Travis Hunter and Henry Blackburn of Colorado State appear in video to make amends after Blackburn injured Hunter with a late hit during rivalry football game. (Credit: Travis Hunter, YouTube screenshot)

Hunter, who has been a star on both offense and defense, was running a deep route in the first quarter of the Sept. 16 game against the Rams when he was hit by Blackburn shortly after the ball sailed by him. Blackburn drew a penalty on the play as Hunter stayed down on the turf.

Hunter briefly returned to the game before leaving to go to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a lacerated liver.

Blackburn and his family received death threats in the wake of the double-overtime win by the Buffaloes, with Colorado State coach Jay Norvell mentioning that police were contacted. Colorado coach Deion Sanders condemned the threats, saying “he does not deserve a death threat over a game.”

In his online streaming show, Hunter also came to the defense of Blackburn, who grew up in Boulder: “He did what he was supposed to do. It’s football. Something bad is going to happen on the field sooner or later. You’ve got to get up and fight again.”

Blackburn thanked Hunter in the video for calming down the situation.

“All that stuff that went down after the game, I can take it. I’m not tripping about me,” Blackburn said in the video as he chatted with Hunter. “I have two little sisters at the house still, in elementary school. That’s what mainly I was worried about, their safety and everything. I appreciate you coming out and saying it’s football.”

Said Hunter: “If we were all nice to each other, the world would be 10 times better, bro. That’s how I feel. That’s how I look at it. That’s why I don’t get mad. There’s no reason to get mad.”

Colorado cornerback Travis Hunter (12) is dragged down after a short gain by Colorado State defensive back Henry Blackburn, back left, and defensive back Ayden Hector during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Then, they headed to the bowling alley, where they vowed to donate money to a charity that benefited kids. After all their spares and strikes were tabulated, they posed for photos.

“We had a good day,” Hunter said.

Hunter was sidelined for Colorado’s 42-6 loss at No. 9 Oregon last weekend. He will be out this Saturday as the Buffaloes host Caleb Williams and No. 8 Southern California at Folsom Field.

Still, Hunter is lobbying to play. Sanders revealed during a team meeting that Hunter sent him a text that read: “I need to play this week. … I’m not taking no for an answer.”

Sanders read his response back to Hunter: “No, you ain’t ready and I care about you more than I care about this game. You’re going to change the game of football one day when you’re healthy and ready. Your future is brighter than mine ever will be and was.”

Hunter has 16 catches for 213 yards as a receiver this season. As a defensive back, he has nine tackles and an interception.

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