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For the past five years he's had to endure it -- losing. It's something no professional football player can get used to, especially Michael Timpson.

"Basically, coming from Penn State and throughout high school, I've never lost so much in my life," the New England Patriots' wide receiver said. "That's been pretty indicative of the types of years I've had in New England."

However, the former Nittany Lion is making the best of his situation with the 1-11 Patriots. In limited playing time this season, Timpson has 30 receptions for 443 yards, or 14.8 yards a catch.

"It's been mostly a backup role for me," the receiver said. "All I can do is keep working because I know sooner or later I'm gonna get my opportunity."

When Timpson was 8-years-old he got the opportunity to participate in a punt, pass and kick contest near his hometown of Baxley, Ga. He eventually won one of the regional competitions in Georgia.

"At that time my idol was Ray Guy," he said of the former Raiders' punter. "I don't know, but somehow I got away from kicking the ball to catching it."

After moving to Miami Lakes, Fla., Timpson started catching the football at Hialeah Miami Lakes High School for Coach Mike Uspensky. During his two years on varsity, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver was a team captain and an MVP, not to mention establishing numerous records.

"He's the greatest kid I've ever been around," Uspensky said. "The best things he ever had were his work habits. I knew he was a game-breaker and we did everything to get his hands on the ball. We allowed him to develop himself."

Timpson did develop himself --not only in football, but in track as well. In fact, Timpson excelled as a sprinter. During his senior year, he became the first athlete to win four events at the Florida state track meet. He also won a high school track national championship in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 13.40 seconds.

"I think I liked track just a little bit more than football only because it was such an individual sport and you didn't have to depend on anybody else," Timpson said. "You didn't have to depend on the line blocking, the quarterback throwing the ball right, and all that kind of stuff. It was just you running down the track."

Timpson was able to run down the track and run past cornerbacks when he arrived on the scene at University Park in 1985. The highly-recruited track star and wide receiver thought Penn State was the perfect institution for him to prosper.

"I didn't want to go out and be this big football star," Timpson said. "I wanted a good education and a degree. I felt comfortable in Happy Valley -- it really intrigued me."

Men's Track and Field Coach Harry Groves was intrigued by Timpson. Aside from playing for Coach Joe Paterno, Timpson also ran track at Penn State. He was an American collegiate record holder in the indoor 300-meters.

"He's about the greatest athlete ever at Penn State," Groves said.

Although Timpson was never a big impact player on the Penn State football team, he was the Lions' leading receiver in 1988. The speedster caught 22 passes for 342 yards, averaging 15.6 yards on each reception.

But college for Timpson wasn't about numbers, it was a growing period for the wide receiver. His mentor was Paterno.

"You really don't realize how influential some of the things he says and does are, until you leave," Timpson said. "When I left, all the things he talked about and all the things he preached came true."

Even the part about playing professional football.

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