Story Behind the Picture: Bryan Evans
Former University of Georgia defensive back Bryan Evans is one of a kind. From doing whatever he is called to do on the field, the same can be said off the field. The first time I met Evans was at a college bible study. I had no idea he came from a prestigious SEC school or had spent time in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. He had long dreads, a bright and inviting smile, all while singing "what do tigers dream of when they take their little tiger snooze?" Little did I know from that moment on, the amount that Evans would impact my life.
Fast forward to the Jacksonville Sharks 2012 season. After attending training camp, Evans had made the final cut. He was one of eight players I watched out for that season. He played defensive back and wore number 9. Throughout the season Evans made 28.5 tackles, one tackle for loss, and logged two pass break-ups in the seven games he started. He also got the opportunity to be a kickoff returner where he ran back for 28 yards.
What's more impressive than the stats listed above is the grace and humbleness Evans carries himself with. He knew who he was playing for and it wasn't himself. He knew the time to impact people was small, in fact for the time he had with the Sharks it was the 20 week regular season, and a two game post-season run that ended in the American Conference game.
With all of that said, what's so special about this picture? Football players get their picture taken all of the time. They get pictures going into the game, during the game, stepping off the field to the bench area, and during post game autographs. The thing about this picture is that it captures the grace and humbleness of Evans that was previously mentioned. I don't think in any of the post-game autograph sessions I ever saw this man behind a table. He was always out in the crowd taking pictures, talking to fans, and signing posters and footballs.
Evans took the time to talk to every single person around him before going to the locker room. He made sure everyone had the pictures and signatures they wanted too get. There aren't many football players in any league who can say they have the relationship Evans has with his fans. There also aren't many fans that can say I have a pair of pink football gloves and armbands one of my favorite players got for me. (I can because of Evans! Thanks, B.)
As I got to know this man better outside of football, I got to know his passions and his dreams. This made me view him in a very different way than I did some of the players on the Sharks I didn't know as well. Evans is the type of person you can text with just a simple "Hey, I hope you're having a great day!" and with a quick response of something similar back you know it's not generic, and he really means it with a ton of love.
So where is Bryan Evans now? He recently got his certificate to become a personal trainer and he is starting his own business! He still attends the bible study that I first met him at, and his football career is most likely over, but that doesn't change the way I view him. He is a great friend, and someone I love being around. He makes me laugh and smile, and gives some of the best hugs.
Here's to you Bryan! Keep bettering yourself daily, and you are going to do big things in your life.