Once a Duck, always a Duck.
It's a saying that originates in Eugene but has been echoed all through the country and even the world. As those leave the University of Oregon, one thing's for sure: All Ducks share a special bond.
Now that sentiment will extend to Minnesota where former Oregon linebacker Troy Dye will be playing professional football for the Minnesota Vikings who selected him in the fourth round, 132nd overall, during the 2020 NFL Draft.
In an interview on the Minnesota Vikings podcast, Dye discussed what his time in Eugene meant to him.
I think Eugene is probably my second home because I just fell in love with the community. I feel like I have a spot there for the rest of my life, no matter what. - Troy Dye
After winning the Redbox Bowl as a junior, Dye along with quarterback Justin Herbert, forwent the NFL Draft to play one final season in Eugene with one goal in mind: To go out on top.
We've been through so much: Three difference coaching changes, three different offenses, three different defenses, different scandals, different things going on with strength coaches and administration people, just different things that can distract people. People transfering, people getting kicked off. There's many things that can get you discouraged and you can go 4-8, then [7-6], then 8-4, and then the last year could be 8-4 and you'd be okay with that but we had a different mindset, different goal. We made sure everybody was on the same page going into this last year and made it happen. - Troy Dye
The city had given Dye so much that he knew he needed to finish the rebuild his senior class began.
I've built so many relationships and friendships over those four years it's just meant the world to me. So to be able to go out with that senior class that we came in with and go out with the Rose Bowl it just meant the world.
Dye's senior class accomplished just that winning the program's first Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl Championship since 2014, and finishing with the program's highest final ranking of No. 5 since Marcus Mariota left for the NFL. They also left the program ready to continue building forward with back-to-back top recruiting classes in the conference which leads to more talent being injected into the program.
Dye, Herbert, and the rest of the 2020 class will be remembered for turning around the program back to national relevance; where it belongs.