/

Oher reflects on tough road from homelessness to Super Bowl

AFP-JIJI

When Baltimore Raven Michael Oher takes to the field Sunday he will be thinking of his second family which helped him realize his dream of playing in a Super Bowl.

“My life was rough,” Oher said. “They (the Tuohys) showed me a lot of love and taught me a lot of different things. I was moving around and didn’t have a stable home.”

Oher is the subject of a book by author Michael Lewis called ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.’ In 2009, the book was made into an Academy Award-winning movie called ‘The Blind Side’.

Oher says he’s pleased that “The Blind Side,” which tells of his transition from foster child to football star, has motivated and moved so many people.

“It has inspired people all over the world,” the 26-year-old tackle said Wednesday at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in downtown New Orleans. “It gave people hope. That’s what it is all about.”

Oher and his Raven teammates will face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome.

Oher was one of 12 children born to a drug-addicted mother in Memphis. His father was murdered in prison when Oher was in his final year of high school. Placed in foster care at age 7, Oher was shuffled around from family to family and homeless at times.

“Growing up I didn’t have anybody positive in my life,” Oher said. “I made a lot of decisions on my own. I went to school on my own.”

In 2004, he was taken in by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, a couple with a daughter and son attending the same school as Oher.

They asked Oher to come live with them, eventually adopting him.

He played college football at the University of Mississippi where he was named an All-American.

The Ravens chose him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, trading up in the order to select him.

“I was always determined as a kid,” Oher said. “Growing up in my environment, all my friends were into violence and drugs. I didn’t want a part of it. I always wanted something more out of life. Wanted to be something.”

Oher said Wednesday he feels he would have still accomplished his football goals even if the Tuohy’s hadn’t taken him in. He wrote a book “I Beat The Odds” in 2011.

“People see my story and think I had to be taken in by a wealthy family to be a success,” Oher said. “I was 18 when I moved in with them. I had already overcome many things in my life.

“I think I am still the same person. I was always very motivated.”

The movie stars Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock, who won an Oscar for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy. The movie was also nominated for Best Picture.

He said he has yet to meet Bullock.

“I never met Sandra Bullock. I never met anybody from the cast of ‘Blind Side,’ ” he says.

Oher says if he could change one thing about the movie it would be the scenes where he is learning how to play football as a teenager.

“Growing up all I had was sports. In the movie they made it seem like I couldn’t play football at first,” he said. “That upset me so much. Since I was 7 or 8 years old I played football. I always understood the game.

“It is not 100 percent, but it is inspiring.

“I think I look better than the actor, too.”