Teddy trying to live up to role model status

As Teddy Bridgewater returns to his hometown of Miami as a starting NFL quarterback, he wants a win and wants to continue being a role model for his childhood community.

Teddy Bridgewater is going home.

After growing up in Miami and attending Northwestern High School, Bridgewater is returning to the scene of his high school football career as the Minnesota Vikings’ rookie quarterback making his 11st NFL start.

There have been ticket requests, which get filtered through his mother Rose so Bridgewater can continue to concentrate on his NFL development and keep his performance Sunday the focus during his return to his hometown.

“I’m pretty loved back home in Miami and a lot of people tell me that I’m a role model in my community, so it’ll be amazing to see how many turn out there and get to see me play in person for the first time for some people,” Bridgewater said.

He doesn’t know how many people will be at Sun Life Stadium as hometown supporters. It won’t be his first time to the home of the Miami Dolphins – he attended some Dolphins games there growing up and even attended as a recruiting target of the Miami Hurricanes, who had a commitment from him before they fired their coaching staff and he decided to commit to Louisville.

“It was just the recruiting process where everything happens. You go with your heart,” he said. “At the time I was committed to the University of Miami and they had fired their head coach and everything so I just opened things back up, just wanted to take a look at different places. I was still considering the University of Miami but the University of Louisville came in and they just won my heart.”

Bridgewater was the sixth-ranked quarterback in his recruiting class, according to Scout.com, and the second-best dual-threat quarterback. He also had a 3.5 grade-point average.

It was at Louisville that Bridgewater built on his reputation as a poised, accurate passer who put his team first, playing through injury and doing whatever he could to make the Cardinals program a winner.

In 39 collegiate games, Bridgewater threw for 9,817 yards, third-most in the school annals, while his 72 career touchdown passes also rank as third-best by a Louisville passer. He completed a school-record 68.4 percent of his passes and had just 24 interceptions in 1,142 career pass attempts. He also scored six times on 226 carries. Despite being sacked 85 times during his Cardinals career, he amassed 9,987 yards in total offense, the third-best figure in school annals.

He admitted he grew up hoping to be playing in the Dolphins stadium as an NFL player. Naturally, he grew up a fan of the Dolphins and all the Miami sports teams.

“As a child I had high dreams and aspirations and making it to the National Football League and to be able to play there my first year in the NFL, it’s pretty amazing,” he said.

Now, however, he returns as the NFL player that turned down his offer from the University of Miami and is now playing against the team he grew up following. Still, Bridgewater said getting his Vikings a win and giving them a chance to finish the season with a .500 record is the most important piece of his “business trip” to Miami.

His head coach now, Mike Zimmer, doesn’t believe Bridgewater will be trying to play the hero or doing too much Sunday.

“I don’t think Teddy will do that. We’ve talked about making sure he gets all of his tickets and all of that stuff done early this week,” Zimmer said. “Teddy’s really not that kind of guy that, ‘I’m going to go show off.’ He’s not really a showoff kind of guy.”

Bridgewater is simply hoping to play well, get the Vikings their seventh win of the season and continue to be a role model for the community he still embraces in Miami.

“I think it’s more of just me and my character. I was a great child growing up, I would say, very athletic, but also I was very smart,” he said. “I was one of the first in my family, actually I was the first in my family, to attend college and graduate. Just the little things like that serve as a role model in my community.”

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