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    O'Brien Granted Sixth Year
    Senior defensive end Mike O'Brien will return for his sixth season in 2004.

    Senior defensive end Mike O'Brien will return for his sixth season in 2004.

    Jan. 26, 2004

    The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee announced today that University of Illinois fifth-year senior defensive end Mike O'Brien has been granted an extension in eligibility for the 2004-05 academic year.

    O'Brien played in one game last season, but tallied nine tackles, three for loss and a sack against Missouri in the season opener before suffering an ACL tear. He has recorded 94 tackles over five years, along with 21 tackles for loss, eight sacks and 18 quarterback hurries. O'Brien sat out the 1999 Bowl his true-freshman year with a broken fibula and then nine games of the 2000 season with a stress fracture. Following the 2004 season, O'Brien will have played in contests in all six seasons at Illinois.

    "Even though we felt confident about the NCAA's decision on Mike, it is good to get the final word," Turner said. "He adds a lot to this team and was playing his best football last year. Mike has the attitude and intensity that we need on the defensive side of the ball."

    "This is great news," O'Brien said. "It is always difficult to sit out and have to watch the team from sidelines. I felt like I was playing real well when my injury occurred last fall. I am looking forward to getting healthy and back to work with the team."

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