Hawaii Boise St Football

Boise State offensive lineman John Molchon (77) blocks against Hawaii in a game Oct. 12 at Albertsons Stadium.

A broken foot wasn’t about to derail John Molchon’s senior year or his hopes of playing in the NFL.

Boise State’s team captain broke the fourth metatarsal bone in his right foot during warmups of the BYU game on Oct. 19, but he missed just one game the rest of the season.

He’d barely practice, some weeks not at all, but would lose the protective boot and suit up on game day and find a way to get through it. Molchon played through the pain for two reasons — to contribute to Boise State’s quest for a Mountain West Championship, but also to garner enough positive film to show NFL teams ahead of the 2020 draft.

It appears he may have done both. The Broncos topped Hawaii to win the Mountain West title, and his NFL chances appear to be gaining momentum. Molchon accepted an invite this week to the NFLPA Bowl, where he will practice and play in front of scouts and team personnel from all 32 NFL teams on Jan. 18 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

“I wanted it so bad,” Molchon told the Idaho Press. “I knew I needed to heal up and I’m feeling good now. That was the biggest thing. It was perfect timing and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Molchon will participate in practices all week and the collegiate all-star game itself, which will be televised nationally by Fox Sports 1. It’s a chance for NFL teams to see him up close and in person, and he’s hoping a strong performance there will lead to an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.

“It means everything,” Molchon said. “It gives me that extra edge to take care of business and hopefully get that combine invite and have more opportunities to showcase my skills. I’m excited for the opportunity and blessed. It will be fun.”

Molchon was twice a first-team All-Mountain West selection and made 42 starts during his Boise State State career.

He played in the BYU game despite knowing something wasn’t right with his foot. It wasn’t until afterwards when an exam revealed a broken bone.

Boise State had a well-timed bye week followed by a road game at San Jose State that team doctors suggested he sit out. But when the Broncos returned home to face New Mexico on Nov. 9, he was given the option to return or sit out.

Told the injury couldn’t get worse by playing on it, the decision to get back on the field was a “no-brainer.” He returned to face the Lobos and started each of the final six games of the season.

He wore the boot almost around the clock when not playing in a game. He even arrived at the Las Vegas Bowl wearing the boot and did his pregame walk around the field with it on before suiting up.

“It was painful for sure,” Molchon said. “It was something I had to overcome mentally, not just with the pain but with the highs and lows of the season. It was my senior year and I was trying to make the most of it and do what I could do. It came down to preparation and needing to mentally prepare more.

“I was less than 100 percent, but I did a very good job handling it and moved as well as I could. I did everything I could off the field to be in the best possible shape and it was really just my preparation.”

Molchon said he believed NFL teams didn’t have enough quality film on him and that he needed to tough out the season to try and prove to them what he could do. The risk seems to have been worth it with the announcement that he accepted the invite to the NFLPA Bowl.

“I wanted to play at the next level, it’s been my dream and something I’ve always wanted to do and to shut it down would have meant not enough film,” Molchon said. “I wasn’t in the position to not play and still get that opportunity, so I weighed the value and knew I wanted to get back out there and perform, so it was kind of a no-brainer. I knew I had to push through it.”

Molchon said he rested for a few weeks following the Las Vegas Bowl and is fully healed from the injury. He’s training in Las Vegas for the NFLPA Bowl and for hopefully the combine. He’ll also work out at Boise State’s Pro Day prior to the draft.

The all-star invite means he gets to wear his Boise State helmet one more time and play in maybe the most iconic college football stadium of them all in Pasadena. Having it potentially help his pro career makes it even better.

“There’s no better opportunity to be in front of all 32 teams,” Molchon said. “It’s a great situation for me. I love competing and I love that everyone will be trying to reach their dream also, so that fires me up. I can’t wait.”

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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