The NFL draft is often about collegiate production, measurements and combine numbers, but there are often stories that manage to transcend all of that. Such is the case with Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, whose heartwarming adoption story promises to be discussed a lot on Thursday night.
According to Rachel George of USA Today, Floyd was adopted by businessman Kevin Lahn and his wife Tiffany in 2011. Floyd reportedly comes from a broken home and had a rough childhood, so the fact that someone like Lahn was willing to take him in and help him out is certainly inspiring.
At the same time, there have been questions about whether or not Lahn might have ulterior motives. Floyd was suspended for two games in 2011 for receiving improper benefits, according to George. Those benefits came from Lahn, who was trying to help Floyd get by. In response to that suspension, Lahn decided to officially adopt Floyd at the age of 20.
Lahn was no longer barred from providing Floyd with money and other benefits as he became Floyd's legal guardian. Lahn provided Floyd with living space, a vehicle and a credit card, so there is naturally some suspicion that Lahn adopted Floyd in order to exploit a loophole and to circumvent NCAA discipline.
It's easy for people to be cynical considering the amount of college football scandals there have been over the past several years, but adoption is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Adopting Floyd didn't do anything to benefit Lahn other than presumably bringing him joy. Floyd was plucked from a tough situation and treated like a son by Lahn, who should be praised for doing so.
In a lot of ways, Floyd's situation is similar to that of current Baltimore Ravens and former Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher. His story was well-documented in the book entitled The Blind Side by Michael Lewis that later became a successful film.
Oher was adopted by the Tuohy family when he was in high school. Oher was impoverished and had nowhere to go, so they decided to take him in. They later helped him enroll at Ole Miss. This led to an investigation by the NCAA since the Tuohys are Mississippi boosters, but nothing came of it.
There is no question that the Tuohys had good intentions, so it just goes to show that the NCAA is suspicious of everything these days. It's hard to believe that somebody would be willing to go through the adoption process in order to break NCAA rules, so hopefully ESPN and NFL Network decide to look at the positive side of Floyd's adoption during the draft coverage.
Lahn also adopted another athlete, according to George, in the form of Nigerian basketball player Hendrix Emu. He and his family reportedly fled from Nigeria to England in 2003, and Emu came to the United States in hopes of playing college basketball. Emu was homeless before Lahn stepped in and adopted him.
It's certainly possible that Lahn could have other motivations, but love legitimately seems to be one of them and that is all that should matter. Floyd is going to make millions at the NFL level regardless as a first-round draft pick, but as the legal son of the Lahns, he now has somebody to share his success with.
Floyd is bound to be a better player and a better person moving forward because he has a strong support system in place. Oher achieved NFL greatness through uncommon circumstances, and Floyd stands to do the exact same thing.
The only people who truly know why the Lahns adopted Floyd are the Lahns and Floyd themselves. Regardless of the motivations, though, the Lahns seem to genuinely care for Floyd and he reciprocates those feelings. That alone is enough to applaud the Lahns and root for Floyd in the NFL.
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