In a day and age when all we see on the news are scandals of one sort or another, a guy like Warrick Dunn stands out for other reasons.
I’m not here to toot my own horn, but I consider myself cut from the same cloth as Warrick Dunn. More than 10 years ago, I moved my family to a much larger city for multiple reasons, one of the biggest being to make a lot of money. A large part of that plan was to not only help myself and my family, but to help other people. Things were rolling along until I got involved with subdivision development. Things were rolling along as well as the cash until one day the rug got pulled out from under me. It’s a long story, and the hero of this post is Warrick Dunn, not my pitiful story. But, two different projects, two different snakes in the grass and I was among the biggest of their victims. Instead of helping people and orphans, suddenly I found myself scrambling to save my own self. I was crushed both financially, and mentally. My hope was shredded and my dreams were killed. I guessed God had a different plan on helping those people, but I fear they remained in need. I lost millions of dollars that I will never see again. I lost more than that, though.
Warrick Dunn was also crushed and even more so. In January of 1993, Dunn’s mother who was an off duty police officer, was shot and killed in an ambush. Dunn had just turned 18 and he was the oldest of 6 kids. Dunn had help from his grandmother, but he suddenly became like a father to the younger siblings as well as their older brother.
Dunn was a star football player at Baton Rouge Catholic High School, but he signed with Florida State which is 6 and a 1/2 hours East on Interstate 10. It’s not easy being a football player and a college student. If you think it is, find a guy that played college football and ask him. Add to Dunn’s burden of playing college football, going to school and attempting to get a degree and all of the things that are asked of him as a college football player. He had strength and conditioning, film study, team meetings, classes and studying. Add to that the burden of 5 younger brothers and sisters all going through the tragedy of losing their mother.
Warrick Dunn was more than a good football player. He was much more than that. This is a guy that has character. I wrote about his football talents here a while back: Warrick Show
Doing the best that he could as a college student to help take care of younger siblings, Dunn probably did as well as most fathers could have. His mother was irreplaceable and being the oldest, Warrick was very close to his mom. Somebody like me cannot even begin to fathom what he went through losing his only parent at an early age like that. In my own life, I did not even lose anyone in my family until my grandfather passed away when I was 29 years old and I had my own family. It’s just hard to understand and grasp what a young man like Warrick Dunn went through as an 18 year old kid and later on as a young 20 something trying to make a dent in his own world.
After a successful college career at Florida State where he played 4 seasons, Warrick Dunn was considered too small by some NFL scouts and organizations. He actually was small at 5-9, 185. But, he was extremely quick and he was hard to get a straight hit on with his quickness and running style. Dunn ran a 10.3 100 meters at one time, so he could fly and his game was about speed and quickness and making the other guy miss.
His size didn’t stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from taking him with their 1st round pick and nothing was going to stop Warrick Dunn from being successful in the NFL. He played 12 seasons with both
Tampa Bay and Atlanta and rushed for just under 11,000 yards.
Warrick Dunn was great on the field, he may be even greater off the field.
His Warrick Dunn Foundation has helped many people get their lives together. Much was made out of Dunn’s Foundation helping Deshaun Watson’s family while he played with the Atlanta Falcons and deservedly so: Dunn and Watson
But, Watson is just one of many, many, many people that Warrick Dunn and his Foundation has helped since Dunn went from an almost penniless college student to a well paid NFL super star.
Dunn had nice things. He had nice houses in Tampa and in Atlanta, and he had nice cars. But, he didn’t waste his money on frivolous and selfish things. He helped others in need.
He also continued to help and father his younger brothers and sisters.
Warrick Dunn is the kind of guy I wanted to be and failed.
The world could certainly use more Warrick Dunn like football players.
This is my tribute to him, to Warrick Dunn. He is a hero to not only those that he helped, but to people like me., and not just because he was a great football player. He gives me hope in humanity and the desire to continue to recover from my own failure. In failing health, I cannot physically help my fellow man, and I will never get that money back. But, there just has to be something I can do.
Thanks Warrick Dunn for providing mankind that example of what can be done.
Thanks Warren Dunn for just being you.