The idea of the Kansas State football team treating each other like family is not new.
Treating teammates as family is one of the traits head coach Bill Snyder tries to instill in each of his teams. Generally speaking, when the players care more about each other, the product on the field benefits.
Most teams talk about being a part of a football family that cares for them and wants what’s best for them, but just as often this notion is overstated, bordering on cliché. Just look at teams with flashy players who are more focused on future seven-figure bonuses than their academic responsibilities. Or even with coaches who are on the wrong end of abuse allegations and mistreatment. Me-first attitudes and win-at-all costs mindsets don’t typically foster genuine relationships.
With the Thanksgiving so near at Tuesday’s press conference, the topic of thankfulness came up often with K-State players, and not surprisingly, the word family wormed its way into those conversations just as often.
“I am truly thankful,” linebacker Arthur Brown said. “It’s been a great journey. Just the process of growing together with the team has definitely been something that I will take with me and remember for the rest of my life. It’s helped mold me as a person, and I think I’ll continue to grow and develop from here.”
Brown said the family atmosphere fostered at K-State takes a commitment from everyone.
“It starts with a group of guys wanting to share their lives with one another and everyone has definitely done that throughout this season,” he said. “We’ve grown closer together and it has been proven that we are going to continue to do so.”
Quarterback Collin Klein agreed.
“I’m amazingly thankful,” he said. “It’s a special group. It’s a group that has been through a lot through our time here. We’ve come a long way, and it’s a group that we truly care about each other in a pretty special way as brothers would, or family members would.
“We’re still having fun, and that’s important.”
Kicker Anthony Cantele said the concept of teammates being family can sometimes be exaggerated, but with this group, those feelings are genuine.
“I am so thankful,” Cantele said. “It’s been an incredible experience. The most important thing to me is the friendships that I have made with these guys along the way. We always talk about family, and this is definitely a family atmosphere. That’s never exaggerated.”
Of course, the K-State players and coachers are thankful for more than just a great football team. The short break from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday is much appreciated by a group that has gone through the rigors of a long season with just one week off since September.
Some players mentioned seeing their actual families as the best part about Thanksgiving, while others pointed to seeing old friends back home or holiday hunting trips.
“I’m just thankful to be alive,” he said, laughing. “I’ve always been grateful for these kinds of opportunities, to have some kind of impact on the lives of young people. That’s a special place to me, it truly is.
“I’m thankful to have been in Manhattan and been in Kansas and to be at Kansas State. I’m thankful for all the things I should be thankful for, and to have an absolutely amazing family is special — my own personal family and so many others that are a big part of it.”