Sidelined by injury, Lombard eyes fifth year
Vicky Jacobsen | Thursday, November 21, 2013
Something you might not have suspected about senior offensive guard Christian Lombard? He’s quite the cook, especially when it comes to scrambled eggs.
“Well I’m a big guy. I love to eat and I love to cook,” Lombard said. “I like to try and cook new things. I want to make my own pasta sauce. I have a recipe from my grandma that I got and I want to try.”
Great cooking aside, Lombard says he hopes his teammates remember him as “someone who wasn’t just about himself.”
“I was a hard worker and came in here every day with the inspiration to get better,” Lombard said.
The Inverness, Ill., native did not play as a freshman in 2010 and was a backup offensive tackle and special teamer in 2011 before starting all 13 games in 2012 at right tackle. Heading into this season, Lombard switched positions, moving over to right guard. But Lombard’s senior season ended early after he underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disk in late October.
Standing on the sidelines has been a bit of a shock for the senior, who played in all 26 games during his sophomore and junior campaigns.
“Probably the weirdest thing right now is being out with an injury and having to watch from the sidelines,” Lombard said.” I wasn’t in pads [vs. Navy on Nov. 2], so that was definitely weird, the first time I’ve done that since I’ve been here.”
Still, Lombard, who plans on returning next fall to use his final season of eligibility, says he has come to accept the injury that ended his senior season.
“I’ll have a fifth year, but when it first happened I was definitely devastated,” Lombard said. “It’s a tough injury, but I’m at that point where I’ve accepted it. I’m just moving on, working on rehabbing it and coming back.”
Lombard, who’s cites the Grotto as his favorite spot on campus, said his faith helped him deal with tough situations like the one in which he now finds himself.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Lombard said. “I’m just keeping faith and looking to the big man upstairs. Everything happens for a reason.”
Lombard also said he relies on his older brother, Sean, in trying times.
“My older brother is probably my biggest mentor. If I’m ever going through something or anything and need to talk to someone he’s always someone I can talk to,” Lombard said. “He’s about 10 years older than me. He’s been through a lot in his life, and has a kid and is a great person.”
Lombard, a USA Today first-team prep All-American offensive lineman out of William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., was recruited mostly by Big Ten schools.
“Here or Iowa were the two ones that came down to in the end,” Lombard said. “This is obviously such a special, great place academically and traditionally. It’s like the total package.”
Except for dorm accommodations.
“I was in Keenan [Hall] my freshman year, and we were in a forced triple, so we were three guys in a room meant for two people,” Lombard explained. “So that was definitely horrible.”
Lombard is a management consulting major, a field of study he said fits well with the skills he learned playing football.
“The consulting major is a lot of group-oriented projects and stuff like that,” Lombard explained. “You have to be able to work well with people and in football you have to be able to work with people, and they kind of go hand-in-hand. Communication is big, and you learn that in football and in that major.”
Lombard cites his favorite moment from the gridiron came during Notre Dame’s 29-26 win over Pitt in triple overtime on Nov. 3, 2012.
“[My best memory is] definitely the end of the Pitt game last year when we went into triple overtime,” Lombard said. “It was like a 120-play game, and [I’m proud of] the whole game and how we finished. We finished the game pretty strong and had a drive that won the game, so that was definitely a proud moment.”
Although Lombard says he struggles with watching from the sidelines, at this moment he says he has just one goal: Get healthy.
Contact Vicky Jacobsen at [email protected]