“Night fall was rapidly approaching as I began my ascent to the mountain peak of Diamond Hill.  I was extremely careful, making sure not to twist an ankle or knee while navigating the uneven mountainous terrain.  I found the beautiful colors of autumn unparalleled to anything I had ever seen before.  The voices of nature suspended me momentarily in time along the virgin hillsides.  Powerful northern winds blew angrily as leaves and twigs rained down from heaven.  Slowly I made my way up the mountain’s summit.  That’s when I finally realized just how far in life I had climbed.  I reminisced about the days of old that took me back to those special events and loved ones that made life truly worth living.”

Believe in your destiny and purpose.

Friends, with these words I begin my story in Why Did It Happen To Me and share with you all of the tough times – and glorious moments – that had brought me to this point.  From my humble beginnings filled with abundant love and support, my story takes you through the ups and downs of my professional football career that gave me a chance to live my dream and the great loss of my best friend, Darryl Usher, in a triple homicide.

Some of you may wonder how I was able to go through all of the difficult times and move ahead with strength and positivity.  I credit my hardworking, loving parents who provided me with a strong foundation during my formative years.  They prepared me three dimensionally: physically, mentally and spiritually.  Let me tell you about them.

My father was a fierce competitor and he blessed me with the physical skills which allowed me to evolve into a world class athlete.  Daddy showed me how to groom my athletic gifts and to demand excellence from myself and those that were around me.  Although he battled with alcohol, he inspired me to never be satisfied with being mediocre.

My mother prepared my spirituality by nurturing me into a caring and loving individual.  Her forgiving spirit allowed me to have tolerance for others.  It was a major accomplishment and a rare quality among NFL players.  Fortune and fame can be a great trial and often humility lingers in the background.  Some players feel as if they are above common people.  But my mother and father gave me a great sense of balance and it helped me to remain humble and appreciate the simple things in life.

So my message to young people everywhere is to respect, honor and obey your parents, even during the times when you might feel they are unworthy.  They gave you life and that’s the greatest gift anyone can receive, no matter what circumstances surround that life.

Believe in your destiny and purpose.  Your birth into the world is proof that there is something great in life for you to do.  Your challenge is to find out what that is and may God bless you in your quest.

Peace and Blessings,