Realty One


Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Personal tragedy has provided Tyron Brackenridge the perspective to deal with the uncertainty of pro football.

Brackenridge remains a CFL free agent after being released in December by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The 31-year-old believes he can still play but is also preparing for life after football, taking classes in southern California for his securities license.

"I know I still have some juice left to play,'' the native of Pasadena, Calif., said in a telephone interview. "Right now, though, the ball isn't in my court and so I've got to continue to set up my career after football.

"I actually started last year because I knew this transition would happen and I always wanted to put myself in a position where I could make a smooth move into my career after football.''

Many players struggle with not knowing what's next for them on the field. They'd much rather spend the off-season funnelling all their energies into physical and mental preparations for an upcoming season and not dealing with an unsure future.

But such indecision pales in comparison to the real-life adversity Brackenridge and his wife were dealt May 11 when they lost infant daughter, Brittynn. The Brackenridges have another daughter, five-year-old Brooklynn.

"Our baby was a still birth,'' Brackenridge said. "She had a large mass on her chest and it pushed her heart over to the other side.

"We tried everything we could to save her.''

Brackenridge said the tragic loss has forever changed him.

"Now, when I feel like something has gone wrong, there's a lot worse actually going on,'' he said. "It just made all of my other problems seem much smaller.

"Losing games last year (with Riders) was tough ... but honestly I had suffered much worse.''

Brackenridge credits his wife and strong faith with helping him deal with the situation. Christine Brackenridge's willingness to deal with their loss openly was a major benefit to her husband.

"By her having the strength to do that, it gave me strength as well,'' said Brackenridge. "You've got to have faith, you can't battle adversity without it ... when you put your faith in the Lord, you know he's going to bless your success.

"Things happen for a reason. Maybe it's His calling for me to start my next career and just move forward.''

Brackenridge has spent nine seasons in pro football, the last five with Saskatchewan. The six-foot, 189-pound Brackenridge was twice a CFL all-star and registered 254 tackles, 10 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles with the Riders, helping them win the '13 Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium.

That season, Brackenridge was named the CFL's hardest hitter in a TSN poll. But football provided Brackenridge little solace from his personal struggles last year.

A thigh injury in training camp delayed his start to the season. After returning, Brackenridge was switched from safety to linebacker before the Riders shut him down for the final three regular-season contests, raising serious questions about his future in Regina.

The answer came emphatically when Brackenridge was among 19 players cut by new Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones. After leading Edmonton to last year's Grey Cup, Jones was hired to rebuild a Saskatchewan franchise that posted a league-worst 3-15 record.

"It's the nature of the business,'' Brackenridge said. "There comes a time when all good things come to an end.

"I totally enjoyed my time as a Rider. Being able to build so many different relationships, man, it was just an incredible time being there.''

If the '15 season was Brackenridge's last, it will cap a wild ride that began in Kansas City (as an undrafted free agent in '07) and featured stops in New York (with the Jets) and Jacksonville before he landed in Regina.

"It's crazy, time flies especially when you're having fun,'' Brackenridge said. "I'd love to play one more season just to come back and do better.

"It (2015) was a tough season not only for myself but my family and the (Riders') organization. It was just a rough year all in all but honestly, I feel it can't get any worse unless I allow it to.''

Brackenridge said spending time this off-season learning about the financial world has done much more than take his mind off the long wait for a football offer.

"Learning the rules of the financial game, I think, gives you an advantage because if you don't know those rules you could be hurt financially,'' he said. "I think if you can earn and learn about money that's pretty much what the world is about.

"I'm very excited about the position I'm putting myself in .. I'm prepared for that (life after football).''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

May be too far past his prime and will need to sit and wait for an opportunity that may only arise during the season if a team is hit hard by injuries.

Anonymous said...

Guess it's the end of a good career for him and many others like sheets.

Cloud Strife said...

It's amazing what a couple of years can do. Two years ago, Brackenridge was a coming off an all-star, championship season, and was getting recognition from everyone: the league, TSN, even Chad Johnson was admiring him from his twitter page (yeah, yeah, laugh at Chad OchoCinco, but the guy was still an influential personality down south who didn't have to promote a player from another team in another conference).

Two years later, he's out of work and can't get a contract in the league. I imagine he'll get picked up late in the offseason or in the first few weeks of the season if someone runs into injury trouble, but even then, he's just depth now.

It goes to show how quickly time moves in the CFL. Glad to see we now have a GM/Coach who understands that.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know how many people at TSN owed his agent a favor. That would be the only reason I can fathom why TSN would publish this.

The title should read "Over the hill, unemployed football players begs for job".

Anonymous said...

Brack was great for three of the four years he was here. As a fan I appreciate his service. As a fan I accept that this is a tough business. Fortunately for Brack he has his head on straight and is well on his way for preparing for life after the game which will serve him and his family well. It's awful what he had to go through personally with his child.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you did as a Rider player, class all the way. Best of luck in your future to you and your family.
Dave(not in Saskatoon)

Anonymous said...

Bring Brack Back Bring Brack Back Bring Brack Back!!!

Come on Sask... say it with me...

He's an impact player who had one not so great year... He's a free agent and Sask loves him... we simply have to Bring Brack Back


Anonymous said...

He didn't adapt to the new rules last season and that's it