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Texans' Braman has covered a lot of ground to make the NFL
I don't think that this piece was posted on TT before. (If it has, feel free to delete the thread.) But his name came up in another thread, and it made me think of him. I feel a desire to share it with everyone. Don't let the fact that Jerome Solomon is the author deter you from reading this piece in its entirety, as I feel that this is probably one of his best productions........and an inspiring one to carry into the adversity-filled Pats game this Sunday.
FOR THE REST OF THE STORY
Bryan Braman overcomes hard knocks, stubbornness to put 'special' in teams
By Jerome Solomon
December 16, 2012
With Walter Matia's powerful "Spirit of the Bull" sculptures outside and its own raging Bulls on Parade inside, Reliant Stadium just might be the perfect habitat for Texans linebacker Bryan Braman, a self-described "hardheaded, stubborn-headed, bullheaded kind of guy."
It is the type of place the born-in-May, Taurus-the-Bull dreamer imagined he would one day call home.
Even when Braman had no place to call home.
Even when he worked 16- or 17-hour shifts five days a week making concrete railroad ties for $10 an hour in his hometown of Spokane, Wash.
Even when the only bed he knew was the backseat of his mother's LeSabre.
That is where Braman and Doja, his American pit bull terrier, slept, bonded, lived.
Braman was a college dropout, having left the University of Idaho, where he was on a football scholarship, without playing in a game and almost never having gone to class.
Around this time, Braman's fraternal grandfather was dying of cancer, just as his other grandfather had five years earlier.
He was depressed, his mother said. He was haunted, said a high school guidance counselor and adviser.
Smiley N. Pool, Staff © 2012 Houston Chronicle
"I was lost," said Braman.
At 6-5 and around 250 pounds, with a V-shaped torso, a chiseled midsection that is better defined than any airbrushed "after" photos in muscle magazine ads and long, flowing locks, Braman looks as if he descended to earth from Mount Olympus. If Paul Bunyan were from Mount Olympus, that is.
A Buick might not have been the most comfortable of abodes for a man his size, but it beat sleeping on the streets.
And Braman was on the streets. An 18-year-old struggling to find his way.
He'd spend a night or two with a friend, and a night or two with another friend and a night or three in his mother's car.
"I was homeless and it didn't matter," Braman said. "I was depressed, I guess, and felt like I had let everyone down because I'd blown the scholarship and I wasn't playing the sport I so loved."
Maybe higher education wasn't a Braman thing, he thought. No one in his family had earned a college degree.
"I figured I'd come from a poor, blue-collar family, and that's just the way my family had always been … work hard for what little we had, work a 9-to-5, so that's what I figured I'd do, work a 9-to-5," Braman said.
But in 2006, Braman wasn't exactly working a 9-to-5. It was more like a 2-to-6, as in 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. (with mandatory overtime) at a Spokane factory, the same place where his father, who was in and out of his life, had once worked.
The $10 an hour was better than what he made picking apples as an eighth-grader. And it was better than what he brought home from his stint at a pizza parlor in the 10th grade. And better than the paper routes he had when he was a junior and senior at Shadle Park High School.