Oh man, I love being escorted around.
It makes me feel so important.
Go back with me if you will
to the fall of 2012.
I don’t know about you,
but I was living the dream.
I was, well, at least every boy in America’s dream.
I was playing football in the National Football League.
I had everything.
I had money.
I had my power. I had influence.
I had it all.
I was a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans.
And life was good.
I was living my life
from a position of fame.
And really, my whole life up to that point
had been about seeing
how strong I could be.
I mean, at 14 years old,
I was 6 foot and 190 pounds.
Now, I can’t take credit for that.
I mean, God did that.
And by the time I graduated from Penn State,
I was 6’2″, 237 pounds.
I could run like a gazelle.
I could bench press a house,
and I could back squat a neighborhood.
I mean I was a beast.
But really, I saw myself more as a superhero
not a football player. I mean
I was unstoppable.
I felt that I could run through a wall.
I was so strong.
I was drafted in the fifth round,
and I played six years
of really fun football,
which brings us back to 2012
while I was still getting stronger.
And then, almost out of nowhere,
I started to lose my strength.
I remember of them,
the off-season of 2013.
My body just wouldn’t do what I had alway done.
I remember being in the weight room,
and my right arm just wouldn’t respond.
It just wouldn’t do what I had always done.
Not like now, the things weren’t that noticeable to everyone,
but I could notice.
I remember that pre-season.
We were fighting the Atlantic Falcons.
We got up hole.
I shuffled over to the right.
I met the ball carrier right in the hole,
but my right arm just wouldn’t hang on.
My performance on the field.
It slipped so much
that the Titans decided they didn’t need me anymore,
and they cut me.
Now, I wasn’t ready to be done,
but my body was also still fighting me.
So I started trying trying to figure out what was wrong.
Six months after being cut,
only a month after my 30th birthday,
a doctor finally told me what was wrong.
I went to the hospital that day by myself.
I mean, I knew I was strong enough to handle whatever,
but when I left the doctor that day.
I was in shock.
I held it together until I got my car,
but you guys want to know what the doctor said.
Well, we’ll get there.
I called home that night,
and my older brother and his wife were with my parents.
I couldn’t even get the words out.
I couldn’t get the letters out of my month.
I won’t say them here today. [A L S]
because just like NFL[National Football League]
these three letters don’t define who I am.
But the shock worn off
and I really turned it into denial.
I mean, this couldn’t be me.
This couldn’t be my story.
I mean, I’m too strong.
I’m a superhero.
the average person lives two to five years after the diagnosis.
No, I’m gonna live forever.
That’s not gonna be my story.
I didn’t believe it,
so I did what most of retired athletics do.
I travelled. I played a lot of golf.
I went on some mission trips.
That’s me trying to adopt a bunch of kids from Haiti.
It didn’t work.
I do carry on living my life,
but then things got hard.
Slowly but surely,
my body started to fight me.
My hands started to drop things.
My feet started to trip.
I started to fall.
And those falls wound me up in the hospital
for stiches of broken bones.
One of my favorite falls though,
it was actually downtown Nashville.
I was out with four of my best friends.
I tripped and I split my chin open.
Can you believe those guys let me fall?
我的朋友 哦 等等
My friends, well, hold on,
they’re not my friends anymore,
but luckily, I had a girlfriend who was a surgeon,
凌晨一点 在我家厨房 她帮我把下巴缝好了
and she stitched me up in my kitchen at one in the morning.
So, that was fun.
But everything was getting harder.
我指的是走路 说话 移动
I mean walking, talking, moving,
eating and breathing,
and the denial,
and it gave way to anger and sadness.
And even the smallest thing,
I would try to move my arm,
and just wail “Why God?
Slowly, I moved to acceptance.
Acceptance is not giving in.
Acceptance is that constant battle
between believing and hoping for something good
and dealing with the reality that’s waiting for you.
Pretty soon after my diagnosis,
I realized that the platform I had now
was way bigger than the NFL.
I mean, the ability to influence people,
the reach that I had
and this significance of it all.
I mean not everyone can relate to a football player,
but everybody can relate to someone going through something tough.
So I had an opportunity.
I had to make a choice.
I could give in to this disease
and just try to make myself as comfortable and happy as possible.
Or I could declare:
This isn’t about me,
and I will do everything I can
to make a difference in the world.
So I chose to take my adversity as opportunity.
And adversity and opportunity were everywhere.
The New York Yankees brought me out to speak to the team.
My team, the Tennessee Titans,
they made me a captain for a year.
I got to speak to local and national government.
I even wrote a book.
And that book has sold tens of
tens of, tens of copies.
I mean, now I got to help people raise money.
I got to really help people with a lot of difficulties.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
I remind you a lot of Mother Theresa,
but you’re too kind, thank you.
But I don’t have time to tell you about all the selfishless things I do all day.
But I did know
that I can’t control what’s happening to me or around me,
but I can control my attitude and my mindset.
See, what I thought was my strength,
my physical body,
my position as a football player,
See, that wasn’t my strength.
That’s just an expression of my strength.
My true strength comes from my heart and from my mind.
This life isn’t fair,
but that’s okay.
Still, a lot of people living their lives
from a position of strength.
But there’s only me, there’s only one me.
I’m the only one who has walked my path
from fame to significance.
And there’s only one you
and your path is unique also.
Please don’t count your strength
by external things.
Your strength is about who you are,
Your desires, your dream,
your ambition, your character,
how you treat people.
This is where your true strength lies.
And nobody can take that strength from you.
no diagnosis, no disaster,
no person and no circumstances.
And how you turn your strength
That will determine
if you can be a superhero like me.