In his home state of Georgia, Browns running back Isaiah Crowell returned to his elementary, middle and high schools Tuesday, posing for selfies and signing autographs for kids and teachers alike.
But Crowell wasn't in Columbus, Georgia to be a celebrity. He was there for a reason.
Crowell shared his story with students – one full of triumphs and tribulations. Crowell recalled being one of the most highly regarded running backs in the country coming out of George Washington Carver High School, and watching his promising future disappear into thin air. Crowell's run-ins with the law forced the University of Georgia to dismiss the talented running back from school.
"It did hurt me a lot," Crowell told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer about squandering his career at Georgia.
Disappointment can ultimately turn into accomplishments, Crowell explained. Mistakes are going to happen. It's about how you respond. Crowell could've kept beating himself up about the mistakes he made – or he could change.
Opting for the latter, Crowell cleaned up his act and became a model citizen at Alabama State – on the field and in the class room. NFL teams were still weary of Crowell's past at last year's draft and Crowell didn't hear his name called from the stage in New York.
All it takes is one team, or even just one person to believe in you. For Crowell, it was the Cleveland Browns. The franchise signed Crowell as an undrafted free agent, and the 22-year-old running back rewarded the Browns with nine touchdowns and a future glimmering with optimism.
"The main thing (I wanted to tell the students) is really just to listen," Crowell told the Ledger-Enquirer. "Listen to the people that care about you — the parents and teachers and coaches — because they're not going to tell you wrong. And basically, just keep your nose clean because I don't want to see anyone go through what I went through."
Later on his Instagram account, Crowell posted: "This message today was dream BIG."
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