Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
TITLE: New Mexicoís Favorite Son
By Carol Dee Meeks
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Bryan was a perpetual progress of hard work and success in everything he did. After his high school graduation from Lovington High School, we read in the Albuquerque Journal he was playing football for the University of New Mexico. He was an inside linebacker in his freshman and sophomore years at the University then was moved to the lobo/free-safety position his junior and senior years by UNM‚ÄôS head coach Rocky Long.
My husband and I made the one-way, four hour trip to Albuquerque several times to watch Bryan Urlacher play football. It was no surprise to us to learn of his 442 career tackles which won him the NCAA Division I ‚ÄúDefenders Award‚ÄĚ with 178 tackles in 1998.
‚ÄúHow did playing basketball help him on the football field?‚ÄĚ I asked my husband driving home one night after watching Bryan help defeat the New Mexico State Aggies from Las Cruces.
‚ÄúNot sure, but today he was a one-man wrecking machine.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMaybe the Cowboys will draft him. Wow! How exciting that would be.‚ÄĚ I drifted into dreamland knowing the Cowboys would again be on top.
‚ÄúThe Cowboys could use him, that‚Äôs for sure.‚ÄĚ Pat answered with his smile.
New Mexicans‚Äô view Bryan as: The Best, The Chosen One, A Media Icon, One of the State‚Äôs Favorite Sons, and URL. He was the 1999 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and a Thorpe Award finalist for the country‚Äės best defensive back. He was also an All-American. I think New Mexico knows a good thing when they see it.
In the April 14, 2000, Albuquerque Journal, Mel Kiper Jr., a draft analyst for ESPN, rated Bryan as the fifth-best senior college prospect in America. He was picked ninth by the Chicago Bears making him the highest selected player from the University of New Mexico breaking Robin Cole‚Äôs 1977 twenty-first pick by the Pittsburg Steelers. Bryan was listed, in the draft, as his character being his strongest point. Again, I say New Mexico knows a good thing when they see it.
One night, our oldest son called to say he had tickets to the Dallas Cowboys/Chicago Bears game at Texas Stadium. Excitement rose as game day finally arrived. We were again going to see New Mexico‚Äôs Favorite, and we could not wait to get to the game. We made a sign that read:
against my son
About halfway into the third quarter, the announcement came that Bryan did not make the trip due to illness. My poster suddenly became very heavy. Most of the people in the stadium were wearing his jersey. Moans rang out. Oh Well! The Cowboys won the game.
Bryan‚Äôs basketball skills are not known by many, but he hosted an AFC ALL-STARS vs. NFC ALL-STARS Basketball Extravaganza in Albuquerque in 2001. Fifteen National Football League players participated in this event and proceeds went to benefit the New Mexico America Football League. Thousands of youngsters have benefited from this football showdown.
But basketball is not his talent. This Chicago line backer who was named as the 2005 National Football League‚Äôs Defensive Player of the Year, and is deemed Chicago‚Äôs poster boy, has been pegged as the silent quarterback for his Bear‚Äôs team. His intelligence for defensive signals allows him to think beyond the game and helps him guide the Bears defense against the opposing offenses.
He is all business on the field and has been the key factor in bringing the Bears their participation in Super Bowl XLI against the Colts. (I found an interesting stat, both teams have scored 427 points this football season.)
For Super Bowl XLI, move over Dallas, the Bears are playing for the championship with New Mexico‚Äôs Favorite Native Son leading the way. And New Mexico will salute him once more, as their ‚Äúchosen one‚Äú, the most successful Lobo football player ever.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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