Larry Blustein

FRIDAY FOCUS: Teddy Bridgewater Is One of A Kind

He was one of the best athletes to come out of south Florida in a generation that had more than its share of them.

But what continues to set Teddy Bridgewater apart from anyone else who has made into professional sports – is he gives back every day!

While his highly successful Christmas in July has been the centerpiece of what he does, Bridgewater, a backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans, spends his time in south Florida hanging with friends and family in his time away from the game and training.

What he has become is his own PR machine. He does not need corporate management teams to be there when he hand-waters the lawn of his grandmother’s house – or comes by his alma mater, Miami Northwestern, to workout and be a role model for so many talented athletes.

One of the outgoing athletes in the NFL, he has been a great teammate, learning everything he can from a future Hall of Famer, while knowing that he is one injury away from taking over a team that just missed on getting to the Super Bowl.

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

Earning his new nickname “Mr. U-Haul” – the Christmas in July concept was born, and everyone in the Liberty City and surrounding areas cannot wait for this now annual event.

No TV cameras, reporters or fan websites are even told about something that Bridgewater does with the help of friends and community leaders, giving out gifts to youngsters in July.

New bikes, skateboards, and backpacks were given out.

“Dear Village That Raised Me,” Bridgewater wrote in a message. “You mean the world to me. You played a huge role in helping me become the man I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful. All I ask of you now is that you continue to help raise and take care of the villages’ future – our youth! It takes a village.” Signed The Neighborhood Hope Dealer!!

It takes a village. - The Neighborhood Hope Dealer

His trademark U-Haul rental vehicle and No. 5 Saints jersey pull up and immediately smiles are on faces of youngsters, who may not be in a position to receive toys and other things that make children happy, and feel like kids again.

As they lineup and get a gift in the middle of the hot summer, Bridgewater is indeed an icon of the community that kids – and even parents can learn from.

With all the gifts handed out and the smiling faces already looking forward to next year, there is one thing that “Mr. U-Haul” has to take care of – and that is showing Northwestern football players that he can dance, and he can certainly do that.

After being injured – and not knowing what the future was in professional football, Bridgewater came back to south Florida and worked harder than ever before – and every step of the way, his family, fans and a community was cheering up every step of the way.

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