After missing two games with injuries, 59-year-old linebacker Mike Flynt will take the field for Sul Ross State on Saturday for the first time in 37 years.
Flynt — the son of Pat Flynt of Brownwood — will suit up for the Lobos (2-0) when they face Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. The Crusaders (1-0) are ranked third in the Division III poll. The game will be the American Southwest Conference opener for both teams.
Flynt will not become the oldest college football player, as Edgard Barreto played for Ashland (Ohio) University when he was 60 in 1997. Barreto, however, got in for only one play in the fourth quarter of a blowout in the next-to-last game of the season. So Flynt could be considered the oldest player counted on to be a regular contributor.
“The opportunity like what I’m going after right now is just a testament to what you do at any stage of your life if you’d just take a few minutes every day to prioritize your health and take better care of yourself,” Flynt said in an August interview.
Although he’s the ultimate college “senior” — a grandfather and AARP member, he’s eight years older than his head coach and six years from Medicare — Flynt is legitimately capable of playing against guys one-third his age.
Coaches didn’t give him a spot on the roster. He had to earn it in two-a-days. He’s remained in great shape over the years as a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M, and later by selling the Powerbase, a fitness machine he invented.
Still, some aches and pains from practices kept him out of the first two games.
Flynt last played for Sul Ross in 1970. He was kicked off the team before the 1971 season because of a fight and never got over the regret of missing his senior year. He shared that with some former teammates at a school reunion earlier this summer and one of them suggested he should rejoin the team.
Flynt never considered it because he thought he was out of eligibility. Turns out, he had one semester left. He’s now also taking graduate school courses.