Adam Hayward had a reason to smile Wednesday.
The free agent linebacker arrived at Redskins Park, completed a physical and signed his contract with his second NFL franchise. The 2014 season will be his eighth in professional football, but 10 years ago he almost gave up the game.
Hayward lost his mother to breast cancer while he played for Colorado State in 2004.
In an interview with Larry Michael, Hayward talked about how he quit football and how returning to the game helped him to heal.
“I went to Colorado State, and I was playing there for a couple of years,” Hayward told Michael. “I was starting as a true freshman, didn’t redshirt. Things were going great, and then my third year is when everything came crashing down. That’s when my mom got sick with breast cancer, and she passed away.
“I kind of just walked away from football. I was done. I quit, and I was like, I’m out of here. A year later I said I want to play again. I decided to come back, and that’s kind of when I came back to the coaches and said that I wanted a change.”
Hayward had lost his spot with the Rams, but the coaches at CSU helped him transfer to Portland State, where he went on to earn All-American and unanimous All-Big Sky Conference honors as a strongside linebacker.
The Buccaneers drafted him in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and in Tampa Bay he used his NFL platform to contribute to the fight against breast cancer.
In 2010 Hayward was named an Ambassador for the Florida Suncoast Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for filming public service announcements, serving as the Honorary Chair for Komen’s Pink Tie Gala in May 2010 and serving as Honorary Chair for Komen’s Race for the Cure, which raised more than $1 million for breast cancer research.
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