Iowa football quarterback Spencer Petras keeping options open after shoulder surgery

Iowa football quarterback Spencer Petras keeping options open after shoulder surgery

Petras tore the labrum and rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in Week 13. He is now mentoring Music City Bowl starter Joe Labas, who has never thrown a college card.

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Jerod Ringwald

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras and wide receiver Nico Ragaini watch the action during a 2022 Transperfect Music City Bowl Iowa football practice at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Quarterback Spencer Petras helped Iowa football beat Kentucky in a game at the Wildhorse Saloon on Wednesday night. The 5-foot, 231-pound right-hander collaborated with his teammates to write and sing an original song at a Music City Bowl welcome event on Broadway Street.

“It’s like I’ve been training for this for a while,” Petras said. “You know, you have to prepare to be the best, and we did that today. So, good win.

“I like to play the guitar,” added Petras. “Especially if I’ve had a few beers, you know, it’s always fun. We really didn’t prepare much for it. You get about 15 or 16 minutes to write a song.”

Petras will not play in the Hawkeyes’ postseason game because he tore his right cuff and labrum during Iowa’s 24-17 loss to Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 25.

“I went into the injury tent, they moved him,” Petras said of the moment he was hurt. “I was in pain, but not bad. Then I said, ‘Okay, let me try to throw a ball.’ In doing so, my shoulder slipped out. Because the labrum, I think, is what holds it all together. It wasn’t working properly.”

Petra’s injury, along with backup Alex Padilla’s decision to enter the transfer window, has left the Hawkeyes with two healthy quarterbacks this postseason. Redshirt freshman Joe Labas and true freshman Carson May, both of whom have never given a varsity pass, will serve as the Hawkeyes’ starter and backup, respectively.

Iowa’s inexperience at quarterback has given Petra a way to contribute to the Hawkeyes’ bowl preparations beyond games and team bonding events.

“Any questions [Labas] yes, I answer,” said Petras. “I think the key for me is to shut up. I would love to tell him about every single show. But we have coaches on staff and that’s their job. You know, I never want to jump that way and overwhelm a guy like Joe.

The week of postseason training Petras spent with the Hawkeyes in Tennessee could be beneficial for him as he tries to move his football career forward. The senior said he would like to coach when his playing career is over.

“From now on, when I finish playing, I want to be a coach,” said Petras. “So the goal is to take steps in that direction while I’m rehabbing. Once I’m rehabilitated, feel good, make a decision from there.”

Petras added that he is still weighing his options to continue being involved in football. The California native said he hopes to be on Iowa’s spring roster to keep all doors open — even if he never plays against the Hawkeyes again.

Petras noted that he likely won’t be able to throw seriously for six months. His recovery timetable beyond that is unclear.

Petras can continue his collegiate career because he was among the 2020-21 athletes granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to COVID-19. If he were to return to Iowa, he would likely back up Cade McNamara — a transfer quarterback from Michigan.

Petras said he has begun having conversations with Kirk and Brian Ferentz — Iowa’s head coach and offensive coordinator — about the next steps he should take in his career. Much of his decision-making will be dictated by how his shoulder heals in the coming months.

“We’ll see how Joe and the rest of the guys do,” Petras said. “Cade will likely be our quarterback next year. I am not unaware of this. And I think, if this injury hadn’t happened at the time it did, I probably would have tried to train for the NFL. Obviously, at least six months out, it’s a tough deal there. It just gets difficult.”

Petras also noted that there is a small chance that his arm will never fully recover from the injury. He said his shoulder may also end up strong enough to make it to Iowa’s pro day in 2024.

“I’m working, right now, on taking the next steps in my career after football, but also making sure I don’t have any regrets in terms of ending my playing career,” Petras said. “I’m not sure what it’s going to look like yet. I know I’ll be in Iowa in the spring, rehabbing. I’m going to help Cade, help anybody, learn what I know about our system and stuff like that. As far as the next steps after that, it’s really hard to say.”

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