Devonta Freeman has become the highest-paid running back in the NFL as he signed a $41.25 million contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons. Known for his quickness and hand-eye coordination, the 25-year-old running back is a very determined player that comes as a result of his lifelong struggle since childhood.
When Falcons’ management announced the decision to extend Freeman’s contract on Wednesday, Aug. 9, the fans were very excited. They are in love with him because since he joined the Falcons, Freeman has shown his remarkable value to the team.
Freeman is a player who knows the true meaning of determination and struggle. Therefore, when the struggling Atlanta Falcons selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft, Freeman was the perfect choice for them. He knew that determination and focus would always produce a good result, especially for the Falcons that failed to enter the playoffs in the previous season.
Growing up in Miami’s Liberty City as the oldest of seven children in a rough neighborhood, Freeman had to set an example for his younger siblings to avoid the gangs. He earned a few bucks by doing any work, from working at a gas station, washing cars, and even raking leaves. He literally did everything he could to earn money in an honest way and avoid the gangs that surrounded his neighborhood.
In an interview earlier this year, Freeman reminisced his rough childhood. He remembered that whenever he tried to sleep at night, he always hoped that he would never hear any gun shots that night. However, a rough childhood endowed him a laser sharp focus to avert any distractions on the football field.
“Going to sleep every night thinking you might hear gun shots. That was the stuff that was distracting to me. This is football. Ain’t no distraction.”
His focus to the game is extraordinary and on top of that, he never complained about anything. Even when Atlanta signed him with an only average annual salary of $670,000 and a $121,106 signing bonus, he did not have any objections. The soft-spoken player continued to work hard and showed his true value to the Falcons.
In his rookie year, even in his debut game against New Orleans Saints on Sept. 7, he made a tremendous impact for the Falcons. Freeman had two rushes for 15 yards and two receptions to help the Falcons defeating the Saints by 37-34 in the overtime.
He continued to better himself, and in his third year of his professional career, Freeman is known as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Together with Tevin Coleman, they became one of the most solid combination of running backs in the league.
Last year, Atlanta was able to advance to Super Bowl LI in Houston to face the New England Patriots. Prior to the Super Bowl, Freeman led the team in rushing with 1,078 yards, 4.8 yards per rush and 11 touchdowns. Now, the Falcons have understood his true value and provided him the biggest contract for running back in the league.
A post shared by v8_splashh (@devontafreeman) on
Furthermore, Freeman never forgets about his humble background in Miami and how he managed to stay focused on his goal. He founded the Devonta Freeman Foundation to help children finding their path in sports. Last month, the foundation held its third annual Youth Camp at Charles Hadley Park, Miami. The Youth Camp was held for free as one of the outreach mission of the Devonta Freeman Foundation.
[Featured Image by Eric Gay/AP Images]