Posts

Brad Johnson Comes Home and Gives Back

Cowboy quarterback Brad Johnson came home to the Asheville area this past weekend to give back to a community that takes a lot of pride in calling him one of her favorite sons.

Brad attended Owen High School here in Black Mountain, NC from 1983-1987.  He was an all-American quarterback for Owen and an all-state basketball player on a team that featured future UNC Tarheel standout and NBA center Brad Daugherty.

He came home to participate in the Brad Johnson/Verizon Wireless Celebrity Golf Classic and the Night of the Legends Auction.  These events together are expected to raise as much as $400,000.00 for Eblen Charities – which exists to reach out to the many children, adults and families in Western North Carolina who are battling the effects of illnesses and disabilities.  At the auction, Johnson donated both a signed Cowboys helmet and one of his signed jerseys. He also spoke for the cause and visited with those in attendance, gladly posing for pictures and signing autographs.

Brad begins his 17th season in the NFL this year.  He will turn 40 on September 13th and once that happens, he will enter some elite company.  He will become only the 16th player in NFL history to play quarterback at age 40 or older.

While Brad is apparently going to finish his career as a backup QB for Tony Romo, we shouldn’t forget his past accomplishments:  From 1996-2006 he was starting QB for the Vikings, Redskins, and the Buccaneers when he was healthy. During that 11 year span, Brad started 122 of 136 games and was a member of the Buccaneers Superbowl XXXVII Championship team in 2002.

Throughout his career Brad has been known as a man with a tremendous work ethic both in football and in various community causes.  He’s another one of those Cowboy players who realizes that it’s not all about him and is willing to work for the betterment of others around him.  By the way, that outstanding work ethic is probably why, at nearly age 40, he is still playing in the NFL while I, on the other hand, already at age 40, get winded just typing here at the keyboard.

I just wanted to take a minute and tip my hat to Brad.  True heroes aren’t made just on the football field.  We all love great plays and championships for sure, but it’s important to remember the need to give back to others when we ourselves have been blessed abundantly.  So Brad, thanks for coming home and giving back.

Rayfield Wright: An Inspirational Star

Last night as I lay in bed, I was flipping through the channels and something caught my eye. Now I’m not one to watch TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) or any other religious channel, but I stopped because I seen a picture of a football player in Cowboys uniform flash on the screen. I knew who it was from his jesey number and the picture looked familiar. In fact, last year we did a bio on him in our Legends of the Star series. It was Rayfield Wright.

I never knew much about Rayfield. I knew he was a great tackle and was enducted into the hall of fame the same time as Troy Aikman. He played football before I was even born. But as I listened to him tell his story, I gained so much respect for the man. He spoke very well, he seemed very educated but also grateful for the life God had given him.

The host of the show asked Rayfield to tell the story of how he became to be a Dallas Cowboy. He said that he never really wanted to play football. He didn’t play football in high school, he played basketball. He was a tall skinny kid who didn’t look like a football player at all. He went to Fort Valley State College in Georgia on an athletic scholarship for his basketball talent. He played basketball and had to choose one other sport and chose football.

Rayfield was asked to leave college to go to the NBA early, but turned down the offer stating he made a commitment to get his education and that’s what he intended to do. His senior year he was contact by someone from the Dallas Cowboys and told they were looking to draft him. This was a surprise to Rayfield because he considered himself a basketball player not football. He said football training camp was in July and basketball camp was in August. He decided to go to Dallas and see what it was all about, then he never looked back.

He became very close with coach Tom Landry. He respected Landry a great deal and said Landry’s priorities in life were in this order: God, Family, then Football. I don’t think many would think that of one of the best football coaches of all time, but I suppose maybe that’s what made him so successful and such a great leader.

It was a short interview and I’m pretty sure it was a rerun, but I’m glad I stopped on that channel and got the pleasure of getting to know more about Mr. Wright. It’s great to know that someone can start off in this world with nothing, and live his life to the fullest with nothing but love, respect and the power of prayer.

Rayfield Wright’s Athletic Accomplishments

Dallas Cowboys 1st Anniversary Team—1985.
Dallas Cowboys All Decade Team of the 1970s.
Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor—Texas Stadium—Inducted 2004.
Hall of Faith Award—Athletes International Ministries—1977.
Hall of Fame—Griffin, Georgia. Inducted 1974.
Hall of Fame—Fort Valley State College. Inducted 1983.
Hall of Fame—State of Georgia. Inducted 1988.
Heroes of Football—Inducted 2000.
NFL All Super Bowl Team—1990.
NFL Legends Award—1990.
NFL Alumni “Ring of Honor” Dallas Chapter—2003.
Pat Summerall & John Madden’s—Best of the Dallas Cowboys 1995.
Received 12 game balls during his career as an Offensive Lineman.
Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame—Inducted 2002.
Texas Sports Hall of Fame—Inducted 2005.


“Although he was a long shot in the 1967 draft, Rayfield’s superior athletic ability and competitiveness carried him to six straight Pro Bowls and four All-Pro seasons, making him the most honored offensive lineman in Cowboys history. Rayfield was an integral part of all five of our Super Bowl teams. He was always a team player whose solid character contributed to a winning atmosphere. It was an honor to coach Rayfield Wright.” COACH TOM LANDRY in a letter to the State of Georgia Hall of Fame
 

***

Rayfield Wright has a website: www.rayfieldwright.com and has also written a book titled "Wright Up Front" about his life which you can purchase from his website.