(Note: The sheer number of people wanting to send thoughts, prayers, & messages of hope to Brian Price has been overwhelming. You can do so at Rajiv@Prestigefootball.com. Thanks.)
I remember interviewing then-UCLA defensive lineman Brian Price before the 2010 NFL draft, where he was taken in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I remember thinking that this kid from the mean streets of Los Angeles had everything it took to succeed in the NFL -- talent, work ethic and great intangibles.
What Price hasn't had through his NFL career is good luck of any kind. He's suffered many different injuries in the last three seasons, had a revolutionary surgery in which both of his hamstrings were re-attached to his pelvis, and has played in just 20 of a possible 32 games. But last season, he played 15 games, starting 14, and racked up three quarterback sacks.
Price's personal life has been even more difficult. He had previously lost two brothers to shootings, and last week, his 30-year-old sister Bridget was killed in an auto accident in Inglewood, Calif. Price was so distressed, he eventually had to be hospitalized for dehydration.
"He physically broke down," his agent, Chuck Price (no relation), told the Los Angeles Times. "He had a high fever, was dehydrated, and couldn't hold anything down. That stress just plays a wicked role."
Price, who took his sister's 7- and 9-year-old children to a Dodgers game the night before their mother was killed, now plans to adopt the children.
Through all the difficulties of his life, Price has persisted and tried his best to get back in the game -- now, he has even more inspiration to do so.
"This guy has been in pain for literally a year," Buccaneers trainer Todd Toriscelli said in September of 2011, as Price tried to find his way back after injuries so severe, he couldn't put on his shoes by himself. "I'm not talking about just mild discomfort. I'm talking about driving home he's got to sit on those bones, laying in bed, you just can't get away from it. Certainly trying to play professional football … it's just an absolutely remarkable thing, and a compliment to his drive and motivation. He is a very special person, I can tell you that."
When I talked to Brian Price, I thought he was pretty special, as well. If you have a few extra thoughts and prayers to send his way, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.
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