MADISON, Wis. - It's no surprise that running back Montee Ball was the center of attention at Sunday's annual media day.
Ball was a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago and enters his senior season looking to help the Badgers to a third straight Rose Bowl.
But he has made headlines off the field as well. He spoke with reporters for the first time since being attacked by five men in the early morning hours of August 1st.
Ball suffered a concussion and is expected to be in a green jersey this week, so no contact.
But he's back on the field.
He spoke to the team earlier in camp, apologizing for being a distraction and saying he is ready to move forward.
"I felt that, you know, trying to be a leader for this team and a captain, I knew I needed to get up there and say something to all the players because all the hard work I put into this program, they really look up to me that they all knew that I am all in with them and focus on what we need to do," said Ball.16084706
He also talked about how he needs to be aware of his status on campus. "It really shows me how much I do live my life in a fishbowl and how big of a microscope is on top of me basically. And everyone is on top of me to see what I do when I step out there of my apartment and it's a learning experience. You live and you learn and I am most definitely going to count my blessings and just thank the Lord that I only have a bruised jaw," said Ball.
He also pointed out he is very focused on football. "You know, during the season I most definitely do not go out because I am most definitely focused on winning for this team, but I don't look over my shoulder and I don't walk out of my apartment scared because you can't do that," Ball said.
Finally Ball talked about his reputation. "I know I've read a couple (of stories) of basically saying that I am kind of drawing a pattern here, basically, but no, that is not true at all. People who know me know how I am and I carry myself in a high manner," said Ball.
Ball could not give out too many details about the attack, because it is an ongoing investigation, but he did say, "What I can tell you is it was a night basically before camp started, went out with a few friends, and we weren't getting rowdy or anything and then I was heading right back to my place a block away and I was attacked, and that's all I remember."
Head coach Bret Bielema said he wants Ball to make a full recovery and be even more aware moving forward.
"I've had some conversations with him and his parents, just to make them totally aware. And the proof is in the pudding from here on out and what happens from this day forward there is no doubt in my mind there is a heightened awareness that he has never had to this point," said Bielema.
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