Friday, November 18th, 2022
Reefpoint Brew House
2 Christopher Columbus Causeway, Racine, WI 53405
4:00pm – 5:00pm Family & Friends Only
Link to the Live Stream: https://youtu.be/l4bN-OIkB3s
I entered this world January 30, 1972, with the heart, mind and spirit of a warrior. My parents Henry and Elaine loved me unconditionally with a fiery passion that never extinguished. Their love did not waver from Rose Bowl MVP to the jail cell. The favorite child of four born third. Three being the number of perfection that it is, it had to be written twice in 1991 when I donned the UW-Madison jersey.
My siblings and I tormented one another like a normal God-fearing family. Felicia the oldest, Frederick second in command and this bossy baby sister Toni. I am grateful for all of the memories I got to share with them, and I am honored to have been called uncle. But father is what I loved being called the most.
Cyrus and Taylor changed my life in ways I can not put into words. It brought me joy to watch you grow over these years. If I had it my way, I would have stayed here even in pain with you and my grandchildren Nadia and Aria for all eternity, but my body had other plans.
I loved to draw, read, and go fishing with my dad, and brother. I ran wild and free growing up. My dance skills were legendary and of course I broke and set more records than I can remember at Park. The Alley Cat was born on those football fields in my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. Back then Stacy and I thought we knew it all and everyone thought we had it all. Somehow, I forgot the cardinal rule my father taught me “never forget who and whose you are”. Oh, to be young, black, gifted and dumb. Still, I managed to make it to the NFL accomplishing more than most while addiction haunted me endlessly. It feels good to know you are happy, loved and that we both found our persons in the end. Though he couldn’t beat me dancing, check the tape. I rest knowing my children have a good man in their lives that will support them for the next chapters that I won’t be here to witness in the physical.
Now I over-stand the stress I put on my parent’s. As a parent we want to shield and protect them from the world and themselves. Cyrus, I am sorry son that I had to leave before we could do all the things we had planned. Know that I love you and that I am proud of you. I know you will be the best man, father and brother you can be. Don’t allow anyone to put you in a box and if they try, you write your own label on it.
Taylor, you will always be my baby girl. You have so much of all the women on both sides in you. I will be praying for Amanda when you start acting like your grandma Elaine. I would give anything to tease you again baby. You were my heartbeat, you kept me breathing through those long dialysis sessions. My impatience waiting for you to pick me up prompted the silly voicemails. I hope those messages make you laugh on days when life’s storms are surging. Baby girl, you have my sister’s name. I know you will be fine.
Thank you, Renee, for loving me, holding me down and allowing me to help raise Tiara, D’Angelo, and Mya. Kid’s I’m sorry I don’t get to walk my girls down the aisle or be there for all the awards. It is not fair you lost two fathers in your short lives. I am so proud of who you all have become. Knowing you are all together just like back on Victory Ave growing up brings me joy.
To my life partner that I must leave behind. We had a short but good run, didn’t we? You didn’t meet me in my prime, but you saw the real me and loved me. Lisa, you gave me hope on days I wanted to just lay in bed because of the pain and bone chilling cold I felt continuously. You took care of me, called my family, and stayed at the hospital with me too many times to count. You and my mom would talk for what seemed like hours complaining about me. I know without your love and persistence I would not have made it this long. I wish I could have taken you on more road trips, but without a speeding ticket. You deserve joy, love, happiness, and the beauty living a full life can offer. Relish in being there for the kids Maryia, Joseph, Haylee and my grandboy Finn. It is on you now, I love you. Take care of my dog Lolo!
To all my true friends, family and fans that held me down over the years know that I love and appreciate you. I am sorry for the times I was not at my best. I was born free and I have departed free surrounded by my circle that in itself is a blessing.