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Steve Quinn: Linebacker earns larger role in final season of play

Lorenzo Reyes | Friday, November 21, 2008

Come Saturday, Steve Quinn will walk out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium for the last time as a football player. For the senior linebacker, the experience is one that will surely be a bittersweet moment that will return him to friendly memories.

“I’ll have mixed emotions,” he said. “It will obviously be my final game so to go out of the tunnel and see all the fans going crazy. I get excited for every game so in that sense it will be the same, but at the end of the game, when we walk out, it will be a much different feeling.”

Knowing well that his time is almost done as a player, Quinn has learned to appreciate what remaining time he has as a student-athlete.

“I mean, I’ve only got a couple of games left,” Quinn said of the waning moments of his career at Notre Dame. “I’ve really got to give everything I’ve got because I want to take advantage of the couple of games I have in me, so I won’t have any regrets.”

The path hasn’t always been so clear for the Cherry Hill, N.J., native, as he was relegated to special teams duty for the majority of his career and played the role of a reserve linebacker. This season, Quinn has seen his minutes increase, as he is beginning to understand the ins and outs of his position. Part of the reason for the added contributions was the switch in defensive philosophy that came when Corwin Brown was appointed as the defensive coordinator.

“I think it really has kind of clicked for me,” Quinn said. “Dating back not too long ago with the defense that was installed really kind of made sense to me and I was able to pick it up and I wasn’t thinking as much and just reacting because I knew what I was doing out there more. It was just working, coming early in the summers, working hard in the spring and it’s kind of paid off this year for me.”

Brown has also seen the progression Quinn has made, and as a result, has put his confidence in the senior in an array of situations.

“I think Quinny has worked his way into this position,” Brown said. “The light bulb, I think has come on, but it’s because of things he’s done. He’s put himself in that position. We haven’t given him anything. He’s earned it. He kind of deserves it and that’s what happens when you’re an older guy and it matters to you.”

Earlier this season, Quinn picked up a sack that forced a punt against Pittsburgh. Perhaps his most memorable moment of the field, however, dates back to 2006, when he blocked a punt against Southern Cal that sparked a touchdown.

“Honestly most people, when I tell them who I am, they say, ‘Oh are you that kid that blocked the punt at USC,’ so I guess that’s what I’ll remember forever – that I was that kid who blocked that punt at USC,” he said with a laugh.

What he will remember the most, however, is the friendships that he has acquired through the years in the program.

“Oh yeah, I mean, there have been a lot of great guys since I was a freshman, that I’ve had a lot of fun with,” Quinn said. “Guys like [Pat] Kuntz, [Kyle] McCarthy, Robby Parris, some of those guys that I’m close with.”

As the time winds down on Quinn’s career as a football player and graduation looms on the horizon, the senior wants to have a career in federal law enforcement. One thing that Quinn can take with him once he ventures into that field is the early mornings he has had to endure at Notre Dame.

“Getting used to all those early morning workouts,” he said. “Getting up early and working hard. I guess in that sense, I’m already ready for the working world.”

So in the near future, if you ever run into an Officer Steve Quinn, be sure to ask him about that kid who blocked that punt at USC in 2006.