NEWBERRY — High school students from across the county were encouraged this week by two former pro football players.
At the Newberry YMCA Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, former Minnesota Viking Bobby Bryant talked and on Thursday students heard from Newberry College Assistant Athletic Director Mike Hold.
Bryant played both football and baseball at the University of South Carolina and was drafted in both sports.
Over his 14 year career in the NFL, Bryant played in four Super Bowls and has been inducted into the USC, South Carolina and Georgia hall of fames.
Bryant said he always loved sports and was good at them and fast but he was small.
“When big guys chase you, you run faster,” said Bryant, who was one of 11 children in his Macon, Ga. home.
In high school he was only six-feet tall and 140 pounds but still got a scholarship to go to USC.
As a junior in college he was drafted to play baseball with the New York Yankees but decided to continue his career at USC with hopes of playing in the NFL.
Despite being a 170 pound halfback, Bryant was drafted by the Vikings.
During his NFL career Bryant said he was able to profess his faith to other players, adding at the age of 13 he became a Christian.
“Through my witness I helped lead others to Christ,” he said.
Bryant told the students no matter how successful they are it does not matter unless they know Christ as their savior.
“It is the most important decision you will make,” he said.
He also encouraged the students to pay attention in school and getting an education is important.
“Very few athletes play pro ball,” he said.
Hold told the students he was also often told he was too small to play football.
But the Arizona native used those negative thoughts to spur him on and was given a chance at USC where his team went 10 and 0.
Hold’s goal was to be a professional football player.
“I had the opportunity to play professional football and made it. I believed in myself and set high goals,” he said.
He said he always believed in himself.
“If you don’t believe in yourself it is hard for others to do so,” said Hold.
Hold encouraged the students to do the right things in life to achieve their goals. Two words of advice he gave were not to go to jail and not to “mess with drugs.”
He also told them the importance of getting good grades.
Hold told the students they may not see the importance of learning geometry but if they are on the football field and old to run a 45 degree route and run a 90 degree one they will soon be in the band playing the trombone.
Hold told the students to set high goals for themselves and while his goal is no long to play pro ball he has different goals life being the best dad, husband and person that he can be.
The breakfast continued Friday morning and was open to students around the county.