Fortunately film critics thought more of "The Blind Side" than Oher,
who despite the subject matter could not give the feel-good sports
drama two thumbs up, saying only "It was OK."
The life of an NFL offensive lineman is one of anonymity unless they
do something wrong, spent in the football trenches engaged in
hand-to-hand combat protecting the team's biggest asset - the
But Oher's inspiring journey from poverty to what will be a second
Super Bowl appearance on Sunday when the Panthers take on the Denver
Broncos, has lifted him from obscurity.
"I always tell people that everybody has a story, mine just got
told," Oher told Reuters. "Everybody probably has a worse story than
"Mine just got told. I'm fine with that."
To the bigger world outside the NFL, Oher's life story is better
known than that of either of the star players in Super Bowl 50,
quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Cam Newton.
In "The Blind Side," a homeless black teenager is taken in by a
wealthy Memphis family who introduced him to football, a sport that
helped him to attend college and ultimately become a first round NFL
Now in his seventh NFL season, Oher continues to be better known as
"that guy they made a movie about" than for his skill and success on
the field which includes a Super Bowl triumph with the Baltimore
Initially flattered by the attention by the time the Ravens met the
San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl three years ago, Oher had
grown fatigued of constant and repetitive questions about the hugely
successful film that grossed over $300 million.
The movie had overshadowed his real life. It was as if "The Blind
Side" had provided the inspiration for a professional football
career and not the other way around.
But recently Oher has come to terms with his celebrity and while he
may not fully embrace Hollywood fame he has accepted that the
messages delivered in the film are valuable.
"It's about doing something positive with your life," said Oher, a
hint of shyness still evident despite years in the spotlight. "It
was always a dream of mine to be successful not only in sports but
as long as you are successful in life.
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"Just having drive ... not letting your environment, circumstances
around you hold you back."
The theme of overcoming adversity detailed in the movie is one that
continues to run through Oher's life and career.
After five roller coaster seasons with Baltimore Oher signed with
the Tennessee Titans. And after one disappointing injury-plagued
year in Nashville talk about his NFL career had moved from "The
Blind Side" to the down side.
Then last February Oher received a message from Newton, "I need
you," texted the Panthers quarterback.
For someone who had spent their early childhood unwanted, shuffled
from school to school and foster home to foster home Newton's text
brought a new purpose to a flagging career.
"It lets you know he (Newton) wanted me here and that meant a lot,"
said Oher. "It just goes to show you hard work and people believing
in you anything can happen.
"Every single year you have to reprove yourself in the NFL. I think
that is the great thing about the NFL, every year you have to prove
This season, back at left tackle, Oher proved himself to be one of
the best in the NFL as the Panthers offensive line allowed just 33
Standing in the midst of the crazy scene that is Super Bowl Opening
Night, Oher shuffled his feet, smiled and spoke with softness that
could barely be heard above the Super Bowl buzz.
"It was tough coming from the environment I grew up in," said Oher.
"Just the road I had to travel to make it to the NFL it is a dream
"It's still a dream come true."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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