War is a word used frequently in sports.
In a game as physically demanding as football, terms like â€œbattleâ€ are thrown around loosely.
For freshman walk-on Adam Klingenberg, war and battle mean something else.
Klingenberg served two tours of duty in Iraq as a machine gunner, for seven months each, in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Evergreen High School in 2006.
He served with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines for four years before coming to Colorado State as a 22-year-old freshman majoring in sociology.
Klingenberg returned home to get an education and pursue his dream of playing Division-I football.
â€œItâ€™s something I really enjoyed playing in high school,â€ Klingenberg said. â€œI really missed it in the four years I was gone, so I thought Iâ€™d love to give it another try.â€
Serving overseas as a young man has given Klingenberg a unique outlook on life compared to most college freshmen.
â€œComing back to the states, you tend to respect the freedoms and just everyday life more,â€ he said.
Defensive line coach Scott Brown has a tremendous appreciation for what Klingenberg has done up to this point in his life.
â€œItâ€™s incredibly unbelievable that heâ€™s got that much passion for his country,â€ Brown said. â€œWe all owe him a bunch.â€
Now Klingenberg has to shake off the rust and compete against teammates who have a whole training camp and a game under their belts.
At 6-foot-4-inches, 270 pounds, Klingenberg is learning what it takes to play defensive tackle in college football.
Brown sees a guy who has leaps and bounds to go, yet also recognizes the potential for success.
â€œYouâ€™re talking about a situation where itâ€™s been four years since heâ€™s had his hand in the ground in a stance,â€ Brown said. â€œHeâ€™s a neat kid and a quick learner up to this point, and Iâ€™m very anxious to see what we can develop.â€
Klingenberg has not played football in four years and had time to hone his skills, but his tours in Iraq taught him other valuable lessons that are equally important.
â€œI learned dedication and just trying hard at everything you do and, maybe in the future, leadership roles,â€ he said.
CSU coach Steve Fairchild looks at a person with Klingenbergâ€™s experience as a great addition to the team.
â€œItâ€™s really kind of neat to have a guy like Adam join our team,â€ Fairchild said. â€œObviously he is here to get a degree, but he looks like heâ€™s got a chance to be a pretty good college football player.â€
Klingenberg is only a scout team player now, which will give him time to improve as a football player and focus on his first semester of college life.
He remains on active duty until October, but said he will not have to return to Iraq because his unit has already been deployed back to the Middle East.
After years of service to his country, Klingenberg can go back to living a normal life and doing what makes him happy.
â€œItâ€™s a good feeling being on my own again and responsible for my own life,â€ Klingenberg said.
Football beat reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.