September 28, 2008
One day after burying his three-month old son, Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning field goal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the kick sailed through, giving the Bucs a 23-21 lead over Green Bay, Bryant blew a kiss skyward with tears in his eyes. Holder Josh Bidwell embraced Bryant in a bear hug after the kick, and the rest of Bryant's Buc teammates joined in a subdued celebration too.
Bryant's son, Tryson, unexpectedly died Wednesday morning. Jon Gruden told the press that afternoon that Tryson "just didn't wake up."
Watching Bryant attempt the kick today was a truly gut-wrenching scene. I was watching the game with three friends, none of whom could care less about the outcome of the Bucs/Packers tilt, but we all celebrated when Bryant hit the kick.
That Bryant was even playing today is amazing. The NFL has no roster exemptions for bereavement, meaning that if Bryant didn't play, the Bucs would have had to have cut another play in order to sign a replacement. It's a terrible rule, especially considering that teams can make roster exemptions for suspended players. Hopefully, Bryant's tragedy will force the NFL to reconsider.
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