New Orleans -- We've all heard about the self inflicted tragedy which has been authored by former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Behind bars in Massachusetts, facing a murder charge, and a ‘person of interest' in a SEPARATE double murder, Hernandez appears to be an example of the worst of the worst in the NFL. If guilty, it's the most egregious crime committed by an NFL player since Rae Carruth committed an even worse crime in 1997. The former Carolina Panther conspired to murder his 8 months pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. She was shot 4 times, and died a month after giving birth to a son. The child was not struck, but the loss of blood from the mother caused the boy to be born with cerebral palsy. Tragic. Selfish. Evil.
But, let me give you the story of a ‘good guy', and they outnumber the aforementioned monsters 1,000 to 1. Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Jonathan Willard, and undrafted free agent out of Clemson, was on his way to training camp. He was traveling Interstate 40 in Tennessee when he noticed an SUV traveling ahead of him trailing smoke. The smoke quickly turned into flames. Willard and another good Samaritan got the driver's attention. It was a woman with 3 children and the family pet aboard. Willard and the other individual managed to get everyone out of harm's way, just in the nick of time. Said Willard: "Probably, like two minutes after we got everybody out of the car and got everybody to safety, the car blew up once. BOOM! Then, probably like a couple of minutes after that, it blew up again. Then, probably about...I think it blew up about four times. But, like two minutes after we got everybody out, it blew up."
This is the kind of player…the kind of MAN…who represents the NFL, by and large. His caring, kindness and heroics deserve recognition. But, remember this. There are things players and coaches do every, single day that go unnoticed, but are just as much appreciated by those they aid.
I say, ‘Here's to the good guys'. To them, this is much more than a game.