He was number 32.
We scanned the screen of every game to catch him in action. He wasn’t a top player, but he was captain of special teams and put his all onto the field.
He is my cousin and he is a hero to me.
I just sat next to him at my Aunt Joanne’s dinner table trying to match him plate-for-plate but never could, eating myself sick instead. Now he was there on TV playing pro football just a week or two later.
I learned that I wasn’t very good at football but I’d play at recess anyway. He was my inspiration, so I’d try hard.
I earned school cred having the only family member in the NFL, which kept me from getting picked on a couple days a year.
My cousin Tim’s message to me was always the same: “Oh man, Kev, you can do anything you put your mind to”. I worked hard to live up to his example.
Twenty-five years later his message is the same. He always pushed us to do our best. He’s still an inspiration though the NFL days are memories. Great, amazing memories he uses as a platform to inspire next generations of kids everywhere.
Anyone who met Tim was captivated by his charm, his good looks, and his midwestern friendliness. A constant source of positivity, I kept the Game Day magazines, newspaper clippings, signed balls and pennants from his career, and my belief in his message carries me forward now.
For a young kid from the sticks, he showed me and my friends that anything was possible. He lived the dream.
He wasn’t my Dad, or my Grandpa or my older brother, but he made as much of a difference in my life. He didn’t have the stats of a Walter Payton or an Eric Dickerson, but he was and still is a hero to me.
Timothy Gerard Tyrrell
#32 Atlanta Falcons 1984-1986
#32 Los Angeles Rams 1986-1988
#23 Pittsburgh Steelers 1989
Thanks Timmy, it’s true: you really can do anything.