Tonight I will take the field for what will likely be the last time. While my final appearance won’t be aired on national television, nor will there be thousands of fans there to witness it, to me it will be a special moment. I believe we ascribe value to the things we do in life. Many are willing to let others ascribe value for them. They let others tell them what they should love: seeking wealth for the sake of wealth, chasing fame for the sake of reputation, but I am not one of those people. I understand that tonight I play in an intramural flag football game at a small college in Williamsburg, Virginia, but for me it could just as well be the Super Bowl. I cherish every second on that field, every opportunity to bring down a catch or make a tackle. Because I know there is nothing I enjoy more than the thrill of competition. I have never known how to throttle back my enthusiasm, and I have never understood why anyone would want to.
I believe that you (albeit unknowingly) played a large role in molding my competitive spirit. Since the day you came to Denver I have watched you play. Every Sunday my eyes were glued to the ‘24’ printed on your back. At a young age I would mimic your movements in my living room as you put everything you had into that field. With every tackle I cheered, every interception I rejoiced, and every blown coverage I cursed. You don’t know it, but I may be your biggest fan, as well as your biggest critic.
Last year I wanted nothing more than for you to win the Super Bowl that you deserved. It crushed me to watch that game. I can’t begin to imagine the emotions that you went through. But that loss forced me to reevaluate why I watch the game. I no longer watch for the wins, for the records, or for the bragging rights. I watch to escape into a world that makes sense. A world where the rules are written out and understood. A level playing field where all that matters is what you show you can do. It is here that I find happiness,
Above all else, you have taught me that it is actions, not words, that define one’s character. I will never be as athletic, as driven, or as humble as you, but I can strive towards your example. Every workout, every play, every snap. Each morning I wake up to the numbers 2-4 hanging above my head. You are my inspiration. You are my motivation.
Tonight I play in your honor. I promise, win or lose, to leave my heart on that field as you did every Sunday for 15 years. Your example is forever burned in my heart.