While most people will come to know Michael Oher in the coming weeks as the guy whose life is portrayed in the new movie The Blind Side , most Baltimore football enthusiasts would rather know him as the reincarnation of Jonathan Ogden as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
“I am not curious. I am not in a hurry to see it,” said the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Oher, who was selected by the Ravens with the 23rd overall pick in April’s draft. “But I will watch it eventually.”
Seems to me that a movie like this places more pressure on Oher than any blocking scheme, or harrowing match-up with speedy defensive end could ever provide. The movie sets up that Oher, with the help of a kind family, made himself to be more than he ever could have imagined as a football player.
Unfortunately, these characteristics don’t prevent turf toe, chop blocks, or poor coaching; all of the things that can derail a career and limit the impact of Oher’s media blitz. It’s one thing to watch a movie and cheer for the underdog. It’s another when that underdog grows up with expectations of anchoring an offensive line for the next 10-12 years, and leading a team to Super Bowls.
Most pro athletes already live with the burden of minimal privacy and heightened responsibilities off the field and court. Oher, as an offensive lineman, has stepped out of the anonymity of the position and into a limelight that gives him significant personal appeal off the field, and even more expectations on it—even as a rookie.
He’s going to have bad games, he’s going to get frustrated with the media, and he’s going to negotiate with other teams when his current contract is up. Those things won’t make him a bad guy, but with his life being paralleled by a fictionalized account of his real-life story, you just hope that people don’t take away the wrong impression of a gentle giant just looking for a break.
Because he earned his break. And if he makes a few on his own within his own terms, don’t be shocked if it doesn’t go down with a huge smile on his face with Sandra Bullock in the background instructing him on who his family is.
Good thing Michael Oher doesn’t care what happens with this movie; Heaven knows a lot of movie watchers this weekend will leave the theaters all-too-ready to care. Hopefully, not too much.
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