Driving home after an exhausting football practice, I instantly felt my knee acting up again as I gently shifted it toward the side trying to snatch my phone. I finally got to my phone and picked it up and read the bold words: NFL Draft Tomorrow. I placed my phone down and instantly thought about good memories as a talented senior in college; winning the Heisman Trophy and leading LSU to a noble title. “Those were the good old days,” I instantly thought to myself as I took a turn on the interstate.
As I got home, I took off my sleek coat and hung it in my closet, and then laid flat on my bed. I began to doze off when my phone started to ding. I sat up and grabbed it and looked eagerly at another bold caption: Picks for the 2027 NFL Draft. I eagerly opened the link and scrolled down to instantly discover my projection for a team and pick I will be on. The first pick in the draft is held by the Miami Dolphins by trading with the New York Giants. I worked efficiently with the Dolphins during the scouting week, and they really considered me as a QB. They admired how fast I was precisely at the 40 yard dash, 4.38 precious seconds. (Tied for first for the fastest quarterback in the 40 yard dash.) I looked at their projection for an elite player, and it came to a QB from Ohio State named Jerry Jones. I scrolled down to discover my name, seventh overall to be selected by the Arizona Cardinals. I turned my phone off and laid back down on my bed. Just before I fell asleep, I thought to myself that I will finally achieve my dream of becoming a longtime pro.
Early in the morning, I went to my closest to find my best tuxedo (A fabulous red tuxedo with a black tie and red pants.) I walked out of my house to see the tour bus. I boarded and took my seat. I instantly put on my Beats by Dre and looked out the window, and started counting down the seconds until my lifelong dream came true. As we were about ten minutes away, I get gently tapped on my shoulder. I turn around to find my longtime teammate, Degan Smith, sitting behind me.
“You ready for the draft?” he said.
I think of myself and Degan, me throwing an accurate ball in the fierce air and Degan leaping to snatch it for the touchdown.
I responded.“I’m ready.”
As we arrived at the draft, I walked out of the bus to see longtime fans bearing homemade signs with my name on the front. I walked into the draft and walked up to my seat. I sat down at my private booth and waited eagerly for the draft to begin.
As the draft began, Wilbur Wilson, the Dolphins head coach, walked up to the grand podium to promptly announce their official selection. My mind went blank to push out all the private thoughts and listen carefully to his every word. “With the first pick in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select, Albert Brown from LSU.” I arose from my seat with pride in my chest. I walked up the meaningful steps and received my official hat. I then walked over to my new head coach, Wilbur Wilson. He held up my draft jersey, and we took a charming picture together. At that point I as was typical had a brief interview. Then I walked down the hall to go sit at ease, and talk eagerly with my new head coach.
About an hour later, I sat down in a red armchair in an office just twenty-four feet away from where I was drafted. Wilbur walked in with a paper in his hand and handed it to me. He said.“This is your contract, let me know if you want any reasonable changes.”
I looked down at my contract. I looked at my salary first. Thirty-four million dollars was how much money I was guaranteed. Next I looked at my years with the team. Four years with Dolphins and the fourth were a coach’s option, so I had three years guaranteed. I looked up at Wilbur and said, “This will do.”
I gave him a handshake and took out a pen and jotted my name down in black ink forever to be mine. Wilbur left to go attend a meeting, so I took out my phone and looked at my new teammates. I saw the Dolphins picked Degan with the eleventh pick in the first round. I got up and walked out to the parking lot to ride the bus home.
When I got home, I received a text from Wilbur with the times for our practices. My first practice was the next day at four o'clock. I walked out to my kitchen to prepare dinner. I grabbed a steak from my fridge and placed it on the counter. I also grabbed potatoes as well. I walked over to my sink and began to peel the potatoes. When I was halfway way done, I looked up to see a familiar picture of my grandfather and I sitting there. I grabbed the picture and looked at it closely. It was the time, when we went fishing out in a lake.
“We caught a big trout that day.” I said to myself. A single tear ran down my face as I placed the picture back and continued peeling the potatoes.
I got up early several weeks later and, I realized today was my first game as a pro. I remembered my first few practices were amazing. I did extremely well, and they didn’t regret picking me first overall.
I grabbed my equipment and got in my car and drove to the Dolphins Stadium. I arrived at the stadium with my other teammates, and we walked into our locker room together. I put on my equipment and walked out into the front of the tunnel until we were announced as a team.
Our broadcaster started to announce our names and we started going out one by one. Until he got to my name and started reading it. I took a deep breath and took a step forward into the warm crisp night with spotlights on me and my picture on the jumbotron. I started running out of the tunnel to hear people cheering for me. I arrived at our team’s side and sat down and waited for the game to begin.
We won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. The kicker kicked the ball, and it went high into the air, then dropped down into the endzone for a touchback. I walked out onto the field and called the play. We lined up in a gun formation, and they were waiting for my words.
“Down, Set, Ready, Hike,” I yelled.
The play begins and I got the ball. I went back into the pocket and waited for the right time to pass. I was about to throw the ball, when one of the Cardinals’ linebackers hit me. I fell back and heard my knee snap. I laid on the ground in pain with my knee stinging with pain. I saw the medical staff run to me as I started going in and out of consciousness. I looked into the sky and then closed my eyes and went to a dreadful sleep that I believed I would never wake up from.
I came to with a stinging pain in my leg and knee. I looked where I was, and I was in a hospital bed. I looked around to find a cup of water and crackers and my phone on a table. I tried shifting my leg over to the food, but then stopped halfway through with my leg stinging and throbbing with pain. I began again and finally reached the food. I grabbed the water first and drank it, so my dry throat would stop throbbing. I then grabbed the crackers and began to eat, when a blonde nurse came in with a clipboard and looked at me in a funny way. I began speaking, but she just walked out of the room. I noticed a paper was sitting on a desk next to me. I picked it up and began to read the report. It said tore my ACL. I knew from that my moment on my life was downhill from here.
I grabbed my phone from the desk and began looking for any messages from my coach. I knew there was none, but I kept looking. A doctor walked in, but didn’t speak. He walked over to my leg and starts changing my bandages and began checking my blood pressure.
I asked him, “When will I be able to leave?” He looked at me with sorrow in his eyes and said, “Not for a long-time kid.” Then he patted me on the back and gave me a list of food I could ask for over the phone. He left after that, and the room was silent once again. I closed my eyes and wished this was all a dream.
I woke up to a doctor standing on the side of me. He was there to discuss the surgery that I would be having on my knee in two weeks. He informed me that he was going to repair my ACL and to do this I would actually have to have my other knee operated on as well. He went on to explain that this was one of the worse ACL tears that he had ever seen. As the next two weeks passed, I laid in that hospital bed lost, confused and out of hope.
Once I had surgery, I thought I would be ready to hit the fields within a week or two but a therapist came to see me and he handed me a sheet and said, “These are you’re rehab dates and let me know if you would like any changes.”
I took the paper and studied it closely. My first session was the 19th of November. My mind was racing. How could this happen? What about Football? How do I go on? What's the point? At that moment I broke, I put my head in my hands and sobbed. Without football I did not want to even live. I decided I was going to end my life as soon as I got out of the hospital which would be the next day, October 3rd. I decided I would overdose on my pain medicine and end my life the next night.
I left the pharmacy, and my friend Degan , asked me if I wanted to go to dinner. I, of course, declined because I wanted to be home to complete the task of ending my life that I had planned. Once I arrived home and made my way inside, I sat down at my kitchen table. I took out all of the pills from the pharmacy bottle and put them in my mouth. As I reached for my glass of water I happened to look at the windowsill and see the same photo of my grandfather and I fishing that I had noticed many months earlier. The moment my eyes locked on that photo it was as if my grandfather’s eyes were piercing my soul. I knew at that instant that I could not follow through with my plan. I knew I could not disappoint my grandfather. I knew I wanted to continue to live. I knew that I wanted to be a legacy just like my grandfather was. I vowed from that point forward, no matter what obstacles I faced I would face them with positivity and never ever give up. I would face any pain, any rehab, anything to play football again.
“Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the start of the NFL 2028 season,” echoed over the loudspeaker as I waited in the tunnel with the rest of my teammates to make our grand entrance onto the turf. My heart was beating fast, adrenaline pumping through my veins, and my mind was focused on the game ahead. They announced my name over the loudspeaker as I ran out onto the turf. I ran to my sidelines, picked up a ball and began passing it with Degan. We went on to win that game. When walking off the field that day I could not help, but raise my hands to the sky and point up, with every breath I had in me I screamed, “This was all for you” something that I continued to do at the end of every game as a way to say thank you to my grandfather for protecting me and saving my life. Love you Gramps!