Ford's return a win for him and the Hogs

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

There was at least one feel-good story to come out of Arkansas’ 35-7 loss to Alabama last Saturday.

Sophomore safety Elton Ford was back on the field … in a game.

Ford, who started the first eight games for the Hogs last season as a true freshman, had not played in a game since cracking three vertebrae in his neck against Ole Miss last season. Initially, it was feared that the injury might be career ending.

But Ford never gave up hope in returning to football. Facing a long rehabilitation process, he missed the spring, but was cleared by the doctors to return for preseason practice.

With any neck injury, there’s always going to be some self-doubt by the player and some caution by the coaches. Ford, who was also battling a sprained ankle, didn’t play in the Hogs’ first two games this season against Missouri State and Georgia.

He had four tackles against Alabama, though, and seemed to play with a lot of confidence.

The Arkansas staff will still bring him along slowly. But the mere fact that he’s back and playing is already a major victory for him and the Hogs.