Linebacker Ben Heeney was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft and was considered a fierce hitter when he was selected. After much hope, it seems this preseason Heeney has disappeared albeit it due to injury leaving his immediate future in doubt.

PFF Edge

 

His first year was promising with 38 tackles, two assists, and 2.5 sacks. He started his second year with the tragedy of his best friend and roommate at Kansas committing suicide and then ending his season with a severe ankle injury. PFF has him projected at almost 75 solo tackles for this upcoming assuming everything is ready to go. However, more than a football injury to Heeney, there’s still something that extends beyond the gridiron that will undoubtedly affect him moving forward.

“I told him everything was fine and that I would call him later.

He said I didn’t have to … he just wanted to make sure we were O.K.

That’s a difficult moment for me to look back on now, because I would later learn that as I was standing there on that highway, just feeling grateful and happy to be alive … somewhere in the back of his mind, my best friend on the other end of the phone was wishing he was dead.”

Ben Heeney

While that is an incredibly difficult situation, as a fan, my fear is that the death of his best friend, Brandon Bourbon, has made him lose his love and dedication for the game.

He was not the same player on the field last year with only 15 tackles and two assists in his limited time on the field. The question is, can he come back? Can he overcome all these obstacles in front of him including injuries? These answers can only be answered on the football field if and when he returns. Is there more than the injury keeping him off the field? If so is he getting the help he needs? Can he overcome and make it back to the field is something that remains to be seen.

“I don’t want anybody to ever feel the way I felt after we lost Brandon. And if I can help save one life by sharing Brandon’s story, then I guess I will have proven that Brandon was wrong. His life did have meaning. It still does, even if he’s not here to see it. And if Brandon’s story can help save lives, and if those who are helped by having heard his story can turn around and help even more people, then that will be his legacy. That will be the mark he leaves on this world. And that’s how Brandon Bourbon — my college roommate, my former teammate and my best friend — will live forever.”
-Ben Heeney

PFF Edge

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