LARAMIE -- Sometimes it's simply just time to move on.

That, in a nutshell, is why Wyatt Wieland was absent from the competition at Wyoming's annual Pro Day last week.

That doesn't mean it was an easy decision.

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"It was something that I kind of thought about all season," the former wide receiver said. "I went back and forth with it countless times, but it was just something I decided and I have to live with."

Wieland, a sixth-year senior from Colorado Springs, is coming off a career year after snagging 44 passes for 480 yards and five touchdowns. He led the team in receptions and yards. Only Ayir Asante found the end zone more -- six -- on this Cowboy receiving corps.

What ultimately led him to the sidelines in street clothes as his fellow graduates ran through a series of drills in front of 26 NFL Franchises?

Offseason groin surgery certainly played a major role. It was his third time -- all on his right side -- going under the knife for that specific procedure.

He suffered a bilateral tear the first go 'round. Wieland figured it happened again during his latest setbacks. It didn't, however, he said inch-thick scar tissue from the abductor muscle up to pubic region caused enough discomfort.

Doctors, he said, were "shocked" he was able to play in that condition.

Wieland said he reaggravated the injury during summer workouts. Just getting through his final season in Laramie became the ultimate, and admittedly -- at times -- farfetched, goal.

The stats and production, he said, was just a bonus.

"It definitely caused a lot of issues," he said. "It was something I just kind of wanted to keep quiet and people didn't know about it. I just worked through it ... I just knew that if I did pursue a career in the NFL, this would probably haunt me long term. So, that was another medical decision I made. I want my body to work in 20 to 30 years."

How bad was the daily pain?

"The worst was honestly fall camp," Wieland continued. "We were pushing and it was early. I kind of got to a point where it was manageable, but early on, I was like, I don't even think I'll be able to play. We just took it one day at a time and next thing you know, we made it through the season. I just kept thinking, if I can just play one more game, we'll focus on the next one. We got through."

Could've fooled us.

In a Week 3 meeting at third-ranked Texas, the reliable 6-foot-1, 207-pound veteran hauled in a season-high eight catches for 62 yards in front of more than 100,000 fans inside of Darrell K. Royal Stadium. He even carried the ball twice on a pair of jet sweeps in Austin.

Just three weeks later, Wieland caught two touchdown passes as the Cowboys upset No. 24 Fresno State, 24-19. The senior added scores in wins over Hawaii, Portland State and in his hometown against Air Force.

"I didn't want to let my brothers down," he said. "I came back for a reason for my sixth season. I wasn't going to let this sideline me. That's just something I decided to do."

Wieland's playing days might be in the rear-view mirror, but he's in hopes football can still be part of his daily life. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to obtain multiple degrees, starting with an undergrad in finance, an MBA and an additional diploma in business management.

What does it all mean?

He is close to becoming a financial planner. These guys running the 40-yard dashes and lifting all those weights, he joked, will hopefully soon become his clients.

"I want to go the route of athletes and manage athletes' money with all these connections I have," Wieland said. "I want to stay kind of in the sports business a little bit."

Wieland began his Wyoming career as a walk-on back in 2018. He didn't catch his first pass until four years later. During the '22 campaign, he became a go-to target for quarterback Andrew Peasley. The two connected 23 times for 299 yards. Wieland caught a touchdown and rushed for two more.

Last fall, he became the unquestioned leader in the room.

It was quite a journey, he said with a slight head shake and a smile.

"I am very happy and blessed with my career. I wouldn't change a thing," Wieland said. "I just think it was time for me to kind of move on."

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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