WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Eric Bickel of the Sports Junkies may have fallen prey to early reports and prematurely written off Jameis Winston, but he’s also a sucker for a heartwarming story, falling hook line and sinker for NFL hopeful Teddy Bridgewater.
After an absolutely catastrophic Pro Day, causing him to slide face-first down NFL Draft boards league-wide, Bridgewater was the recent focus of an ESPN the Magazine cover story conveying the intense focus he maintained throughout a childhood riddled with trauma.
Prior to reading it, Bickel had no longer considered himself a believer in the Louisville quarterback.
After consuming the emotional account of Teddy Touchdown’s trials and tribulations, however, Bickel found himself squarely in his corner, and a full-on disciple, gushing all over him on the air Thursday.
After reading this, it may prove difficult for you to not feel the same.
“One of the quarterbacks who I have mocked, and belittled, and ridiculed — is just because I’ve never seen a guy have such a bad pro day — is Teddy Bridgewater,” Bickel said on 106.7 The Fan.
“Like if you can’t just drop back and complete little simple outs in shorts and a t-shirt, that to me is just shocking,” he said.
“After reading this article about this kid, I’ve done a complete 180 on him,” he continued. “I love him. I love Teddy Bridgewater.”
“So now you’re rooting for him?” Lurch asked.
“Rooting for him big time,” EB said. “And I don’t know if he can play or not, because I still have huge question marks about this pro day. Like how can you not complete passes like being in an office? This guy had to deal with a lot of trauma, as a lot of kids do; they become big time athletes.”
“I think his mom and dad didn’t really get along great. She ended up getting remarrying, but she was diagnosed with cancer. So he was like 13, they had like 4 or 5 kids. And can you imagine how traumatizing? Like your dad’s not really in your life, your mom is the center — the core of your family, right, the breadwinner, everything — and all of a sudden she’s diagnosed with breast cancer. Can you imagine how devastating that must be?
“This kid takes extra jobs, actually gets caught being late to school 66 times in one semester. His mom freaks out. He has 66 tardies.”
“Where was he going?” Lurch asked.
“He was going to make extra money for the family, because the mom is going through chemo and everything for the breast cancer,” Bickel said. “So this kid, you see the kind of heart and determination the kid has.
“Nevertheless, this kid ends up having a great career. Gets the right guidance, tutelage or whatever. Great high school career. On his recruiting visits, tells coaches — I just found this to be stunning — he says ‘Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go to your school, I’m gonna start as a freshman. I’m gonna go to a BCS Bowl as a sophomore,’ okay, ‘ and then by the end of my junior year, I’m going to graduate and declare for the NFL Draft.'”
“He did all those things, right?” Lurch asked.
“He did ALL THOSE THINGS!” EB shouted. “He graduated three years from college and played major Division-I college football!”
“Jason, I believe there are 104 early entrants into the NFL Draft this year,” he said. “Four of ’em have their diplomas. He’s one of them.”
Beyond Bickel’s gravely graying exterior lies a sizable soft spot in his heart for a touching story, especially one involving the climb to success of a kid dealt an overwhelming hand.
What a softy.
Listen to the clip in the gigantic audio player below.
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