Crichton repays parents, giving needed relief

Scott Crichton was able to give his parents the relief he hoped for when he entered the NFL early.

In the dog days of training camp, when a player is most tired, Scott Crichton can rest easy knowing that he is enabling a less stressful life for his parents.

Crichton was going to stay in school at Oregon State for his final season of college eligibility, but his desire to stop having his parents work so much to make ends meet took priority in his life. Crichton declared himself one of 102 early entries in the NFL draft this spring and became the first of two third-round selections for the Vikings.

“It’s just a feeling of relief. I was more proud of them instead of them being more proud of me,” he said after a training camp practice. “Their hard work kind of got me to where I am right now. I’m blessed to have those two as my parents.”

Crichton’s parents are from Western Samoa. They put in long and challenging hours of work to support Scott, his two brothers and one sister … and Scott’s grandfather before he died recently.

So when Scott had the opportunity to repay the favor to his father Lucky and mother Malama, he didn’t even bother going to the NFL advisory board for a draft grade to decide whether he should declare early or not. All he knew for sure is that his parents were working more than they should and he wanted to change that.

His father had been driving forklift in a warehouse despite having one leg amputated because of complications with his health. His mother had been working two jobs.

Now?

“My dad retired. I think so – he quit his job and I told him I don’t want him to work anymore. We’ll see if he still wants to work because he’s bored at home,” Crichton said. “That’s about the only thing with getting retired. My mom quit her second job, so it’s just my mom working one job. She didn’t want to stay at the house the whole day.”

Full retirement certainly would have been a drastic change for Malama. Previously, she would go to work at 6:45 a.m. for her first job, have 30 minutes to drive to her next job about 15 miles away, and then return home at about 10:30 p.m., Scott said.

Both jobs were in nursing. She quit the second one and now works in the morning and returns home about 2:30 p.m.

“My mom got her second job when I was in high school. That’s when she started noticing we were kind of down in money,” Scott said. “She got the second job. My dad got fired from his other job, so he had to get a job. It was minimum wage. They just kept working. I barely saw them during grade school. It was crazy growing up.

“They did everything for me and my siblings, so I’m trying to return the favor.”

When Crichton signed his contract with the Vikings at the beginning of June, part of his $656,324 signing bonus was put to very good use. His parents in their 60s finally had the option to cut down their work hours or eliminate them completely.

“They were just telling me what the parents say all the time: ‘Keep working hard and have faith in God and he has a plan for all of us.’ I believe that he has a good plan for me,” the low-key Crichton said.

Now he’s the hard worker in the family, trying to wedge himself into what is expected to be a liberal defensive line rotation. He isn’t expected to wrestle away a starting spot from either Brian Robison or Everson Griffen, but he believes that pressure on a quarterback and a fresh defensive line are the keys to winning football.

“I think I can have a big impact, just pressure-wise,” he said. “We get a lot of sacks – not even sacks but making the quarterback feel our presence during the games and that’s what we really want. I think I can bring the pressure on that edge.”

If he can be part of that, he can continue to take the pressure off his parents.

“We went through a lot. We didn’t have much,” he said, “but we’re still enjoying our time.”


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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