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April 24, 2013

A 'thank you' letter from Lutzenkirchen

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Philip Lutzenkirchen's 14 career receiving touchdowns are more than any other tight end in Auburn history.

His seven receiving touchdowns during the 2011 season rank first in Auburn's single-season record books.

There's little question Lutzenkirchen's place in Auburn football history is secure, both as an extremely talented player on the field and a beloved student-athlete off it. His 33,000-plus Twitter followers are a small testament to that.

Lutzenkirchen's career ended abruptly when he was forced to have season ending surgery in October of last season. Just like that, the career of one of the most respected and most dependable players in Auburn history was over.

But Lutzenkirchen's impact on the Auburn program is not.

As the 2013 NFL Draft arrives, Lutzenkirchen reached out to AuburnSports.com to pass along an incredibly open and honest, "Thank You Letter to the Auburn Family".

Here's Lutzenkirchen in his own words.

"With the NFL Draft nearly here, I have been told by many a people that it is only natural for me to be nervous, anxious and even a little bit scared. I have a firm faith that God has the perfect plan for me so I honestly feel pretty good leading up to the next phase of my life. To be honest, the main things that I have been thinking about lately are how blessed I have been so far in my athletic career and how grateful I am for all of the help and support that I have received along the way. This is letter is to say thank you the many people who have helped me get to where I am at today.

"First off I would like to thank my two amazing parents and my three amazing sisters: Mike, Mary, Amy, Ann, and Abby. It would be impossible for me to be where I am at without y'all. When I am down in the dumps y'all bring me back up and when I get too big headed I can always count on my sisters to bring me back down! I love you all so much. Dad, thank you for being an amazing father and instilling in me what it takes to be a man. More importantly, thanks for being my best friend.

"Secondly, I would like to thank Jay Jacobs and Gene Chizik for giving me the opportunity to play at such a fine institution as Auburn University. It is rare to find an Athletic Director who will answer your phone call at anytime and be there for you no matter what.

"To Coach Chizik: Thank you for being a great role model of what an "Auburn Man" truly means. You are such a stand up guy and have always been a straight shooter, no matter what the topic may be. Even though your time as the head coach here has come to an end, you continue to represent this University in the right ways. No matter what the allegations in any regard, I hope that you know that your players love you, loved playing for you and also that we know the truths of how you ran our program based on truth and integrity. Thank you.

"To all of the assistant coaches I would like to say thank you for teaching me football and teaching me about what it is to be a man. Special thanks to Coach Malzahn for believing in me and putting me into positions to make plays and show my abilities. I have complete faith you will bring Auburn back to its prominence.

"To Coach Yox: You scared the heck out of me at first! And to be honest you kinda always will! You have instilled a work ethic in me that I will never lose. I will always know what it means to work, hard work, because of you. I have so much love and appreciation for what you do and what you represent. I could not have asked for a better strength coach. You are the best in the biz.

"A very special thank you to Clark Pearson, Dr. Goodlett, Dave Walsh, Dana Marquez and his staff and the entire training room. I think I spent most of my time hanging out in the training room, even if I wasn't hurt. You guys keep the good times rolling! Thank you Dave Walsh for bring me back from multiple surgeries and always pushing me to get better every day. You always seem to get me back healthy in a very short amount of time.

"To BROTHAAAA Chette: I mean this when I say this, You are the most important factor in the Auburn Football Program. You have changed so many lives through your guidance and knowledge of the Bible. I am not afraid to admit that I have come to you in tears and left with a big smile and a new sense of life. You are a blessing to me in my life. Please keep doing what you do to our football program.

"To all of my close friends, teammates, and new friends that I made along the way, thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me when the times were tough. To my roommates, thank you for giving me an escape from football whenever I came home from practice and giving me a chance to just relax and be myself. A very special thanks to my amazing girlfriend who continues to put up with my nonsense and is always supporting me no matter what. You are always there to listen to my complaints and to help me realize the positives during negative situations. You mean the world to me and I appreciate everything that you do. I love you all.

"Most importantly I need to thank the entire Auburn Family. You all are truly the best fans in the country. You've been on our side through thick and thin and that is appreciated way more than you think. I'll never truly understand why you all love that goofy, embarrassing, silly, little dance that I did against 'Bama but I appreciate the love that you have always showed me. From my freshman year when the entire student section stayed through the monsoon game against West Virginia, to going to Glendale and taking the BCS by storm, to everyone showing up for a Senior Day in 2012 in which we only won three games. You all are the reason we come out and play each Saturday (and sometimes Thursdays). The fact that 83,000 of our family showed up for a Spring Scrimmage speaks volumes about the Auburn Community and Family. Don't stop doing what you do. Auburn will be back with a vengeance for it is a new day on the Plains.

"Special thanks to Hoke and the AuburnSports.com staff for always making me look and sound good in my interviews. Y'all are awesome.

"I do not know what the future holds for me but one thing is for sure that the past four years have been the best years of my life. Thank you all for your continuous prayers and support. I love you all and WAR DAMN EAGLE!"



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