Harry Crider’s last few weeks in the NFL were painful ones and ultimately led him to walk away from football.
The former Columbus East and Indiana University standout offensive lineman went through training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent time on the practice squads of the Eagles and Denver Broncos early this season. A week after being released from the Broncos practice squad, he got a call to go to a physical and workout with the Houston Texans.
”I got down there and was doing the physical, and I have been having this back issue and pain down my leg that started flaring up when I was with the practice squad with the Eagles,” Crider said. “Then with the Broncos, it was getting worse. After the physical, they said we want you to get this fixed. We don’t want you to play in this condition right now.”
So Crider started looking around for a good spine doctor. He ended up going to Ortho Indy and had surgery on spine Nov. 17.
“It’s going well,” Crider said. “The surgery has definitely helped tremendously. There is no nerve pain in my leg. I couldn’t stand up (before) for more than 5 or 10 minutes without wanting to sit down.”
Crider is rehabbing at Columbus Regional Health and has not yet been fully cleared for strenuous activity. But he said football likely is in his rearview mirror.
“As far as football goes, I’m kind of leaning toward moving on at this point,” Crider said. “I could get back in shape to play again, but I’m not sure that’s what I want at this point. Being away for awhile has kind of opened my eyes to the rest of the world, and I’m ready to explore other opportunities.”
Crider graduated from IU with a bachelor’s in criminal justice in December 2019, after only 2 1/2 years. He earned his master’s in criminal justice and public safety in May.
“I’m not necessarily tied down to that field,” Crider said. “I’m just looking for whatever would be the best fit for me. I’m just rehabbing and job searching at this point. It’s the holiday season, so I’m spending time with family, which I haven’t been able to do a lot of the last few years.”
Since the surgery, Crider has started to lose weight. He has dropped from a high of 310 pounds to about 290.
“I’d like to be in good shape,” Crider said. “But (football is) probably on the back burner. I don’t know the chances of getting a call like that, being an undrafted guy and then having this surgery. I’m probably not high on anybody’s list.”
Crider won the state’s Mr. Football for offensive linemen after leading East to a Class 5A state runner-up finish as a senior in 2016. He went on to play four years at IU, helping the Hoosiers to one of their best seasons in school history last fall.
The Eagles signed Crider to a free agent contract following the NFL Draft. They waived him on Aug. 23, but signed him to their practice squad, and he was there until he was released on Sept. 21.
Eight days later, the Broncos signed Crider to their practice squad. He was released on Oct. 5.
“It was definitely a fun run,” Crider said. “I made a lot of memories, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But when it’s time, it’s time, and it’s time for the next stage.”