Dream deferred for Teddy Bridgewater and fans

Teddy Bridgewater sidelined for a while.
Teddy Bridgewater sidelined for a while.

So much fun watching Teddy Bridgewater in the exhibition game on Sunday, a preview of what was to come during his third season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Showcasing his skills in the brand, new $1.3 billion U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, 73,000 fans watching his every move. What a season 2016 would be for him.

Completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards, one for a come-from-behind touchdown in the first half in a 23-10 win over San Diego. Taking advantage of a new offensive line assembled during the off-season to protect him. Ready to take it to the next level.

Wait.

Say it’s not so the news coming out of Minneapolis on Tuesday, breaking without warning on Twitter, giving his fans no time to prepare or to accept the inevitable.

Bridgewater uncontested in a non-contact drill, backing up, looking for a receiver, planting his foot, going down immediately. Not getting up. Staying down. His teammates distraught, kneeling, some praying for him, told to go home as practice is dismissed and an ambulance carries him to a hospital.

Just as quickly, the 2016 football season is over for Teddy. His promising future on the shelf for now. Diagnosed with a dislocated left knee and a torn ACL muscle, Bridgewater is faced with serious surgery, followed by weeks and months of rehabilitation. Some inevitable uncertainty.

Really a shame, another reminder that bad things happen to good people, even the best of them. Such a genuinely nice person, fearless and determined, a role model earning the respect of friends and foes alike in the rugged National Football League.

Many University of Louisville fans switching their NFL allegiances to Teddy and Minnesota on Sundays, still holding Cards’ fans in the palm of his hands when he opposed their long-time favorites. UofL fans of the Bears became Vikings’ fans for a day, as did those who followed the Packers, the Bengals or the Titans.

“Teddy is such a great kid, everybody loves him,” said Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer. “We’re gonna grieve today and be upset about it. It’s more about our feelings for Teddy and for him as a person and getting better than it is about anything else.”

After his family, Teddy’s life revolves around football. No one who has come into contact with him has any doubt that he will be back, stronger, as determined as ever, eager to pick up where he left off.

Campus Insider: Gardner may be better than Bridgewater

At least one analyst believes Will Gardner will be better than Teddy Bridgewater was at the University of Louisville.

Will Gardner
Will Gardner

Campus Insiders’ Rich Cirminiello took up the argument that Louisville quarterback Will Gardner will outplay Teddy Bridgewater, year over year, attempting to convince his disbelieving co-workers.

If his assessment eventually proves to be accurate, one would have to heavily factor Bobby Petrino’s approach to offensive football into the equation. Check out the Campus Insider video at http://ow.ly/AlbgQ.

One more tribute to Teddy Bridgewater, then it’s Will Gardner’s turn

Continuing tributes to Teddy Bridgewater could seem to be bit overdone to some, what with the University of Louisville football program on the cusp of a whole new era.

Teddy has moved on, taking his considerable talents and charisma to the Minnesota Vikings, winning the hearts of his mentors and fans in the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Will Gardner brings the future.
Will Gardner brings the future.

The focus will quickly turn to Will Gardner and what he needs to do to maintain UofL’s tradition as Quarterback U. Gardner will be laboring in the shadow of Bridgewater for a while, bringing his own approach to the game. How long it takes for him emerge as the man depends on how his team performs during its first season in the ACC.

For this reason, I had second thoughts about using the latest video, produced by Evan Westendorf. It’s so good, however, that it would be a crime not to use it.

One more video for Teddy but the future belongs to Will Gardner at UofL.

Bridgewater off to good start at Minnesota

Teddy Bridgewater is getting high marks from the Minnesota Vikings after his first week with the franchise and is settling nicely into the community.

Mike Wobschall, the official blogger on the Vikings web site,  is impressed with his mechanics:

Bridgewater’s separation, quick release stand out.

As is the case with all rookie quarterbacks, there are likely some mechanical issues Teddy Bridgewater will have to work through. But right off the bat it’s easy to see that he is already exceptional with his drop back and quick release. Bridgewater reaches the top of his drop quickly and once he begins his throwing motion it doesn’t take long for the ball to leave his hands. This is probably a big reason why he rarely had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage in college.

Bridgewater reported to Minnesota a couple of days after being drafted, ready to get right to work. Rick Spielman, the club’s general manager, said Teddy is having his agent ship his belongings to Minneapolis.

“We talk a lot about the type of guys we want to represent the Vikings, to represent the fans here,”  said Spielman.  “He’s a guy that’s gonna be here all the time, he’s gonna study, he’s gonna work, he’s gonna be a great advocate of the community.”

1,700 success stories in UofL’s class of 2014

University of Louisville basketball fans will remember the class of 2014 for Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Tim Henderson and Stephan Van Treese, a class that won a national championship, went to the Final Four twice, and won more games than any other class in the school’s history.

Tim Henderson and Russ Smith prepare for commencement ceremonies.
Tim Henderson and Russ Smith prepare for commencement ceremonies.

Many of the same fans will remember it for Teddy Bridgewater, a quarterback who led UofL to a crushing win over Florida in the BCS Sugar Bowl and a 22-3 record over the past two seasons. With a lot of help from seniors Marcus Smith, Preston Brown, Brandon Dunn, Roy Philon and Senorise Perrry, of course.

Tom Jurich contratulates Sam Swope.
Tom Jurich congratulates Sam Swope.

Receiving an honorary degree was Sam Swope whose local autombile dealerships have contributed millions to University projects like Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and the athletic program over many years.

But there are 1,700 other success stories in the class of 2014, the writers of which, the seniors, who were honored during commencement ceremonies at the KFC Yum! Center last weekend, making the most of their opportunities at UofL, creating memories, preparing for all the challenges ahead.

(Click on photos for slide show or to enlarge.)