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.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.