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Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
High School Sports
By Sandy Ringer
Paul Arnold knows what it's like to be in the national limelight as a high-school running back.
He knows all about big college decisions and dreams of playing in the NFL.
So, he has a piece of advice for the state's blue-chip running backs this season: "Just make sure you get your college education. That's something no one can ever take away from you."
Football can be taken away in the instant it takes to shred a ligament or tear a tendon. Arnold suffered a variety of ailments at Kennedy High School and the University of Washington, where a back condition forced him to move from running back to receiver. He had some outstanding moments in a Husky uniform, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as a freshman in 1999 and a 148-yard receiving day against UCLA as a senior.
But the guy who once seemed a sure bet to play football on Sundays is now selling real estate and playing pickup basketball games.
And not lamenting a moment of it.
"I don't have any regrets," Arnold said last week. "Everything worked out good for me."
Arnold was as good as or better than anyone in the state his senior year at Kennedy, when he rushed for 1,974 yards and 25 touchdowns (32 overall) and was one of the top recruits in the nation. At 6 feet 1 and 205 pounds, he ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash.
"Paul was in a class all by himself," Kennedy coach Bob Bourgette said.
Arnold signed as a free agent with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts after his senior season at UW, but was released at the end of the preseason. He signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, but walked away.
Arnold, 24, lives in Tukwila and plans to finish the four courses he needs to earn his degree in business communications from Washington.
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