Replay

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Phil Thompson had just finished his junior season at the University of Southern California as the star quarterback for the Trojans. He was one of the premier athletes in all of college football. Phil had decided to skip his final year of college to be eligible for the NFL (National Football League) draft. In the spring, Phil was taken as the number one pick in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. He was rewarded a five-year $50 million dollar contract for being the first pick in the draft.
After rarely playing his rookie season in the NFL, Phil took over the starting job in his second season. He brought immediate success to the Panthers and led his team to the playoffs, and he even earned himself a spot in the Pro Bowl. His next season was shortened due to a broken leg. During his fourth season, the Panthers won their division and made it all the way to the NFL championship. Everything was exactly the way it was supposed to be, the Panthers were amongst the top teams in the NFL, and Thompson was the future of the franchise. During his fifth season he got a contract extension that was going to pay him a whopping $100 million. That’s when everything began to change.
Phil’s poor decision-making, the group of friends he chose to hang out with, and his selfish attitude was the beginning of the downfall of his career. Phil’s sixth season in the NFL did not go as smoothly as the Panthers had planned. Questions about his maturity level and attitude became the start of troubles for Phil. Some of his friends were arrested for fighting and selling drugs. Even though Phil wasn’t prosecuted for any of these crimes, it still led to suspicion amongst the media. Two years later some serious trouble began to stir. Authorities were investigating drug activity that was related to one of Phil’s brothers. The same authorities began to investigate a place owned by Phil. This investigation led to the finding of illegal drugs and weapons. After the investigation, people started to believe that Phil Thompson played a part in this case. Phil lied to the media, and even to the face of the Commissioner of the NFL. Over time, the pressure mounted and the evidence that connected him to this case increased. Phil ended up pleading guilty to drug trafficking and being a drug addict himself. Immediately after this, the NFL suspended Phil indefinitely. Phil was convicted of drug trafficking and using illegal drugs. He was sentenced to 3 years in Federal prison and was forced to enter drug rehabilitation therapy.
Phil was sent to New York to serve his prison sentence. There he encountered hard-core, career criminals, that didn’t like the fact that he was a NFL superstar. The other criminals singled him out, and made a point to pick on him every chance they could. They would push him into walls when they would see him in the halls and gang up on him to try to start fights. Prison had been one of the worst times in Phil’s life. Phil met a guy named Joe, who was serving a 3 year sentence for burglary. Joe had an 8 year old son whose favorite football player was Phil Thompson of the Carolina Panthers. Joe and Phil became extremely good friends over the long period of time they spent together. Joe was able to give Phil the motivation he needed to get through the hard times in prison. Phil served 2 years in prison due to good behavior and completing the drug rehabilitation program.
Phil was out of prison, but was broke due to legal fees and fines. He longed to play football again and thought he was still young enough that he could play for 10 more years. Over the next several months, he spent time conditioning his body back into shape. The NFL commissioner lifted Phil’s suspension, and he was eligible for full reinstatement provided he followed certain conditions. He had to be monitored by a NFL mentor. The NFL was to receive reports from his probation officer and he would have to undergo frequent and random drug testing. Phil was then picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals and was signed to a one year $700K deal, where he would serve as the backup quarterback. He was willing to do whatever it took to get back to the level he was at before he was in prison.
After many repetitions, and hours of hard work, the Bengals began to like what they saw. Due to the Bengals quarterback, Carson Palmer retiring, Phil was now going to be in the hunt for the starting job. When the preseason ended, Phil had surprised everyone, and was by far the favorite to be the starter. Because of this, the Bengals gave Phil an extension of 9 years $100 million. Once the season started, everyone could tell that Phil was a new man, just by watching his play on the field. More and more as the season progressed, he was been beginning to look like his old self again. Phil led the Bengals to the Super Bowl, but even though they lost, this was a major step forward in his career. After the season was over, Phil made a visit to Joe and his family. He even brought Joe’s son an autographed jersey of himself. The very next off-season, Phil spent most of his time being a motivational speaker to kids, encouraging them to not make the same mistakes he made. After going through all of this, Phil was definitely a changed man. He was very humble and thankful that God gave him a second chance.





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