The Daily Eastern News

Article Series: In the eyes of a panther

Eastern’s veteran safety Bradley Dewberry poses during practice Wednesday at O'Brien Field.

Photo Submitted by Xzavier Shugars

Eastern’s veteran safety Bradley Dewberry poses during practice Wednesday at O'Brien Field.

Camelia Nicholson, Sports Editor

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*This is the first in a series about Eastern’s football players and what they do during the off season and what football means to them.

Summer to most students is the time of year to finally be at ease, but to Eastern football players it is a time for growth and athletic development.

Eastern’s veteran safety Bradley Dewberry made the decision long ago to go for dreams that would soon be realities. The senior approaches his last year of collegiate football with one concept on his mind— being humble.

“Some people are just God given, they can run as fast as Usain Bolt, but all that talent doesn’t mean anything if you’re not humble. I have never been a fan of arrogance nor cockiness, regardless if you’re the best athlete or not,” Dewberry said. “It’s remembering where you came from and remembering what you had to go through to get to the point you’re at. Because everybody don’t got it like you got it.”

Dewberry remembers exactly where he came from. After being an acclaimed underdog in his early football years, there was an urge to release a deeper confidence in the game.

Dewberry said one of the lowest points in his life was suffering from an injury when he was just starting out at Eastern.

“I was just a freshman, a true freshman and I was able to start. Right at the peak of my season, I tore my ACL,” Dewberry said. “It was a season-ending injury, my season was just over with. I came here from Georgia, no family, no support system to get me through.”

The Atlanta native was bothered when he saw the reality of his season that year.

“Before my surgery, Dewberry was just like the young kid, didn’t think anything would ever happen to me, took a lot for granted,” Dewberry said. “But the Dewberry after surgery, (is) strong —mentally and physically—determined and motivated. I walk pass someone, (and) give them a smile because it can go so far and give them that extra push and after going through what I did, I can relate.”

At this point, Dewberry has a name to uphold and he said he takes pride in his name.

After a full recovery and playing a stat-filled comeback 2016 season, he found time to give the name “Dewberry” an unexpected edge.

“A time I just felt on top of the world would have to be the night of my probate for pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated,” Dewberry said with an increasingly large grin. “I saw all my hard work pay off for a lifelong brotherhood. Just like when I got my first interception.”

He said his first collegiate interception made it clear that he deserves to be at Eastern. That was when he was sure he was a Division One athlete, Dewberry said.

“My dad was watching it on T.V., and right after the game, I called him and we were both so hype. I just felt on top of the world,” he said.

Both football and Omega Psi Phi makes Dewberry who he is. He describes his accomplishments as what betters him as an African-American man.

“I feel like I was always the kid who was overlooked, underrated throughout my life. Others got to go to big schools because they were so much bigger and I felt unequal, like my hard work wasn’t appreciated, but it has helped me be the person I am today,” Dewberry said. “They can measure your size but they can’t measure your heart.”

Camelia Nicholson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Article Series: In the eyes of a panther