INDIANAPOLIS – The story of Brandon Burlsworth is the definition of inspiration.
It’s a story that can now be seen and heard all over the United States.
On Friday, Aug. 26, the movie “GREATER” will be released in theaters.
“GREATER” tells the story of Burlsworth, a former college walk-on, who would go on to earn All-America honors at the University of Arkansas. Burlsworth was taken by the Indianapolis Colts in third round of the 1999 NFL Draft and was expected to be a future linchpin on one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses. Tragically, Burlsworth, lost his life in an automobile accident just 11 days after becoming a professional football player.
A few years back, Colts.com writer Craig Kelley wrote a terrific piece on the life and impact Brandon Burlsworth had on so many people.
Today, the Brandon Burlsworth Trophy is now given annually to college football’s best player who began his career as a walk-on. At Colts and Arkansas home games, the group “Burls’ Kids” gives free tickets to a group of underprivileged children through The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation.
Below is the movie trailer for “GREATER”
Also, here are some quotes from Bill Polian, Howard Mudd and Houston Nutt on Burlsworth:
Former Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt (Nutt replaced Danny Ford prior to Brandon’s senior season):
“I only got to coach Brandon for one year at Arkansas, but man, what a year! What an incredibly great year! He was so committed and so unselfish. He was a powerful guy. He had such great size and he could really move. When people would ask Brandon, ‘How much do you want it?’ Well, let me tell you…Brandon always REALLY wanted it. He wanted to work hard and he wanted to win. Up until that time, Arkansas had had very little success. But with Brandon, we got on a roll and you could just see our confidence grow. That offensive line was so tight-knit and that was because of Brandon. He was a very special guy. His want-to and his never-say-die attitude are what I always remember about him.”
Former Colts GM/President Bill Polian:
“I have no doubt that Brandon would have been a Pro Bowl player for us (the Colts) for a long time. He was the kind of guy that we would have plugged into our offensive line and he would have been a fixture there for ten years. He was very athletic, and he had incredible intelligence and leadership. Brandon was the kind of guy that you win with. Howard Mudd (the Colts’ offensive line coach at the time) absolutely loved him. After just a couple of practices following the draft, Howard came to me and said, ‘Brandon’s going to be our starting guard on opening day.’ That was an unbelievable thing for Howard to say after just a couple of practices, especially since Howard was the kind of coach who was extremely stingy with his praise. After Howard made that declaration, I said, ‘Howard, are you sure about that? Don’t you want to leave yourself an out?’ And Howard said, ‘Nope.’”
Former Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd:
“Every year, our scouting department would give lists of guys at each position to all of the coaching staff to watch for in the upcoming draft. I would always watch college film and decide who I thought was the very best offensive lineman available in the draft, and then I would grade all of the other college linemen in comparison to the best guy. Brandon was absolutely the best college offensive lineman in the country that year, in my opinion. In fact, I made up my mind that Brandon would start for us (the Colts) before we even drafted him. He was that good. When we did draft him, from our first mini-camp workout after the draft, Brandon did everything exactly the way that I told him to...it was uncanny.”
“The Arkansas coaching staff came to Indianapolis at one point to do a clinic. The Razorbacks’ offensive line coach was there so I asked him about Brandon…he told me that there was absolutely nothing about Brandon that a coach wouldn’t like. He told me that once after Arkansas lost a game, the coaches came out of their offices late that night and heard a strange noise. It was Brandon out on the practice field by himself in the middle of the night hitting the tackling sleds.”