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NOTE: This story originally aired in Nov. 2011. In light of the Louisville Cardinals' Sugar Bowl victory, we thought we'd revisit this Nov. 2011 story about why Teddy Bridgewater almost gave up football...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is one of the most promising freshmen quarterbacks in all of college football, but he nearly gave up the game in high school for the person he loves most in life. Here is "Teddy's Defining Moments."
Life is a series of moments, most of which fly by, but in extremely rare occasions, one of those moments can become defining… lasting beyond the seconds that tick away.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is off to an incredible start to his career. At just 18 years old, Bridgewater is the leader of a Cardinals' offense that is on the verge of exploding onto the national scene.
"The biggest thing I think I bring to the game is the ability to beat you with my arms or my legs," Bridgewater said.
But despite showing flash and "pizzazz" on the field, Bridgewater remains humble – and relatively unknown – off it, as a leader who allows his actions to speak louder than words.
"Growing up, my mother always told me to just remain humble – to keep a humble spirit," he said. "Just being able to just keep myself in the shadows. I just try to sit back and try to observe everything."
Teddy's mother, Rose Murphy, also taught him something else – how to fight, and win.
It happened when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"We found out my mom had breast cancer when I was a freshman in high school," he said. "She had been battling it for five years without even knowing. Once we found out, I was ready to just give up football and sports, period, and just take care of her. If I had to work or do something like that, that was my goal."
But Murphy wouldn't have it.
"I told him, 'No, God gave you a gift, and you have to use it. Don't worry about me. I'm going to be okay,'" Murphy said. "And it was a hard road. I did nine months of chemotherapy, and I had radiation also, at the same time. So it was very hard. I was sick a lot. I lost my hair. And Teddy was there. If I coughed in the middle of the night, Teddy was there. So it was a very hard time for all of us – especially for Teddy – it was very hard. Teddy and I are very, very, very close."
Teddy kept his focus on the field, at Miami Northwestern High School, one of the premiere high school football programs in the state of Florida. And his mom was the main reason why.
"She never missed a game, even though she had issues with breast cancer," Bridgewater added. "She was dealing with breast cancer, but she still managed to attend every game, even through high school, up to this point."
But, on a beautiful May morning, mother and son received the news they'd been waiting to hear for four years.
Rose was cancer-free.
"We made it," Murphy said. "We cried together. We got through the rough time."
"I said that was one of the biggest days of my life, you know?" Bridgewater said. "You have your personal goals, accolades and things like that, but just knowing that you'll have your momma on this earth for more years to come is just a blessing."
Teddy Bridgewater has handled the switch to the starting quarterback position pretty well for a true freshman, but that shouldn't be surprising. In high school in Miami, he played in front of crowds as big as 30,000 people beginning when he was 14 years old.