Running for My Life: My Journey in the Game of Football and Beyond

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9780061432644: Running for My Life: My Journey in the Game of Football and Beyond

Pro Bowl star running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons, Warrick Dunn tells his extraordinary story in Running for My Life, a poignant and inspirational true tale of tragedy, success, depression, denial, and ultimately, hope. One of the most gifted players in the NFL, Dunn talks about his remarkable career and accomplishments while sharing the pain of his lifelong battle with depression, a result of losing his  mother—a police officer killed while off-duty—when Dunn was 18 Thought-provoking and uplifting, Running for My Life is the story of an exceptional athlete’s secret torment and inspiring courage.

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From the Back Cover:

NFL running back Warrick Dunn is truly one of the good guys in the world of sports. And in this revealing autobiography, written with New York Times bestselling author Don Yaeger, Dunn tells his incredibly moving, inspirational story of courage and determination in the face of devastating loss, a story that makes his achievements on the football field that much more amazing.

Warrick Dunn and his five brothers and sisters all idolized their mother, Baton Rouge police officer Betty Smothers. As the oldest, Dunn was the closest to her, and the man of the house. On January 7, 1993, while the single mother worked a second job as a supermarket security guard, Betty Smothers was ambushed, shot, and killed while making a bank deposit. Dunn—then a high school senior just weeks away from choosing among his college football scholarship offers—was devastated.

Dunn was only eighteen when circumstances changed and he had to look after his five siblings, but somehow he managed to enroll at Florida State and, in only his freshman year, help their team quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner and roommate Charlie Ward, win the National Championship for the 1993–94 season. And this was just the beginning of Dunn's successful career as a student athlete, which resulted in his selection to the FSU Hall of Fame.

Despite his modest size, Dunn's athleticism, incomparable drive, and personality convinced Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy to select Dunn in the first round of the 1997 draft with the twelth overall pick. During his career with the Bucs and, subsequently, the Atlanta Falcons, Dunn amassed five 1,000-yard rushing seasons, was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl three times, and became one of only twenty-three running backs to exceed the 10,000-yard career rushing mark. In 2008, he returned to the Bucs seeking to continue his success. But perhaps his greatest achievement during his time as an NFL player came off the field when he started a foundation called Homes for the Holidays, a charity that helps single parents become homeowners. To date, he has placed 74 single parents and their 192 dependents in fully furnished and outfitted homes in Tampa, Tallahassee, Baton Rouge, and Atlanta.

But there was one person Dunn neglected in his drive to help others—himself. He spent all of his emotional energy on his siblings and their pain, and never focused on his own. His only solace was the football field, where he truly was running for his life. It wasn't until a Falcons teammate suggested psychological counseling that Dunn began to battle the demons still haunting him from his mother's death.

Uplifting and thought-provoking, Running for My Life is the story of an athlete's drive to help his family and ensure that his mother's legacy and values continue—the story of what it really takes to be a man.

About the Author:

Warrick Dunn is a former first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his professional accomplishments include five 1,000-yard rushing seasons, three Pro Bowl selections, and the longest touchdown run in Atlanta Falcons history. Dunn also became the Falcons' fifth all-time rushing leader.



Don Yaeger is an eight-time New York Times best-selling author, longtime associate editor at Sports Illustrated, and award-winning inspirational speaker. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, son, and daughter.

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