Temple ends Mizzou career, looks toward NFL

COLUMBIA - Tony Temple has played his last football game as a Missouri Tiger, dropping a last-chance appeal at another year of college eligibility with an eye on the 2008 NFL Draft.

“I feel good about looking into the extra year,” the former Rockhurst High running back said in a release through Mizzou on Tuesday. “It was worth a shot, but I don’t want anyone spending any more time on it, and I feel I’m ready to take the next step.”

Temple ended his four-year run at Mizzou with 281 yards rushing and four touchdowns, both Cotton Bowl records, in a 38-7 runaway past Arkansas. But his debut with the Tigers wound up costing him a complete season of eligibility.

Because of injuries and the suspension of the late Damien Nash, Temple played for the first time in the eighth game of his freshman season. He was injured in that game and sat out the rest of the season.

He appealed to the Big 12 Conference for an extra season and was turned down. He then appealed to the NCAA but dropped that appeal to prepare for a possible pro future.

Temple turned in back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons his final two years at MU.

As a junior he gained 1,063 yards rushing. As a senior he ran for 1,039 yards. His career rushing total of 2,552 yards is sixth all-time at MU.

A gathering to honor Temple at the 810 Sports Zone on the Plaza in Kansas City is planned for 7 p.m. on Friday. Fans are welcome for autographs and pictures.