“Because I have been able to build a reputation as a talented player, I have been able to build futures. Because I am able to play, I am able to make a difference. Because I have been blessed with a talent, I also have been given a responsibility.”
When less than admirable football stars stay in the news week after week, perhaps we need to spend some extra time recognizing stellar NFL players like Warrick Dunn and Deshaun Watson. No doubt there are many others, but these two deserve to share the spotlight today. And we who watch from the sidelines need to understand that the media revels in bad news and mostly ignores the good stories.
Warrick Dunn used his talents on the football field for Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to earn a scholarship to Florida State University. At FSU, he not only played well, he took care of his five younger siblings after their mother, a single parent, was killed in the line of duty as a police officer and a part-time security guard. She had been working extra hours to buy a house for her family.
Graduation brought the opportunity to play professional football with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later, the Atlanta Falcons. He used his opportunity with above average income during those years to help others and to establish a charitable foundation. A more complete story of his life is available as an autobiography, Running for My Life.
One of those whom he helped, was Deshaun Watson, a star football player at Gainesville High School in Georgia. Dunn found out that Deshaun’s mother was helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity, hoping to earn one for herself and her four children in 2006. Warrick Dunn stepped in to buy a four bedroom house, fully furnished for the Watsons. It was so fully furnished that even the refrigerator was well stocked with food on the day they moved in.
Deshaun finished his education at Gainesville High and then at Clemson University, where he led his team to a national championship. This week he walked out on to the field to play his first game with the Houston Texans.