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Brandon Noble story


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This is a few days old, but I searched and didnt see it posted anywhere -


Brandon Noble - Never Give Up

Emily Corcoran



The dictionary defines persistence as "never giving up or letting go." But the Washington Redskins' Brandon Noble has rewritten that textbook definition.

From being an undrafted rookie free agent, to playing in NFL Europe and finally landing a spot in the NFL, the 6-foot-2-inch, 305-pound defensive tackle has proven he has the determination to be where he is today. A shattering knee injury has complicated his last three years, but the examples in his past have proven that this professional football player's game is not over yet.

"The emotions run the gamut, but the experience has been incredible. It's hard to explain if you haven't done it. The way that I came into he league has made it more special for me, because no one expected me to get to where I am right now," he explained. "The fact that I did it, and the fact that I was able to prove so many people wrong has made the last seven years wonderful."

In 2003, Noble joined the Redskins after playing four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. In the second game with the Skins, he took a hit to his knee after three players fell on him during a 20-13 defeat against the New England Patriots. It was a devastating injury, as Noble suffered three torn ligaments and a dislocated kneecap. He remained on the injured reserve list during his entire first season in Washington and began his slow recovery. Noble said that the Redskins and new coach Joe Gibbs took a chance with him when they let him stay on the injured reserve even though his football days may have been over.

"They initially told me that I was not going to be able to play football again," he explained. "There was a good chance that I wouldn't be able to do much athletically because of the damage that I had done to my knee. Usually when someone tells me I can't do something, it makes me want to do it even more. I was bound and determined to make it back."

After intense rehab and constant determination, Noble did the near-impossible when he returned to the game in 2004. He played in all 16 games as a Redskin and even started in eight of the match-ups. For his contribution to the team after his difficult recovery, he received the 2004 Ed Block Courage Award, given by each team to a player who has usually overcome a devastating injury in tragedy in his personal life but returns to the playing field and thrives.

"I did a lot more than people expected me to do after that injury. It was a good feeling. The Ed Block is definitely one of the ones you don't want to win, because it means that you've messed yourself up pretty good, but once you get in that situation, that is definitely a goal. You want to come back and contribute enough so that your teammates vote to give you that award. It is always really special when your teammates give you that type of acknowledgement or recognition. It was a wonderful thing for me," he explained. "They gave me an opportunity to prove that I could play again. They were supportive in the fact that they gave me a chance. To come back from something like I did, you can't do it without the help of the organization and the help of your teammates."

But the injuries were not over. During the 2005 preseason camp, Noble tore some cartilage again, but this time it was in his reconstructed knee. He also received a bone bruise like teammate LaVar Arrington, whose 2004 injury kept him out for most of the season despite his many attempts to return to the field of action.

"In the NFL, you only have so many roster spots, and you don't want to use one up on a guy who is hurt all the time," he said. "They decided very quickly to put me on IR, which is the right decision for the team, and probably for me, because my knee has gotten pretty chewed up after seven years of playing football. Now I can get myself healthy."

In 2003, he knew he was on injured reserve because he couldn't walk, and he knew that he physically could not play football. The frustrating part for him now is being able to move and think he is better. Noble is again on the road to recovery; however, when he exerts too much energy; the knee becomes inflamed and slows him down.

"It is an odd injury, because there is nothing structurally wrong. Before when I tore my knee up really bad, it was easier for me to deal with. This one is different, because I'll be playing with my kids or I'll push myself hard in my rehab and it will flare up. I can see how LaVar had such trouble getting back from it last year," the defensive tackle said.

The Redskins have been very supportive and have given him the opportunity to travel with the team or remain at home to heal. He said that it just depends on how he is feeling and whether or not he thinks his knee can handle four hours of standing on the sideline at the games.

"Part of you is not there - the part of not being a football player and not being able to go out on Sundays and play ball. I miss that. It takes a toll on you."

"It's hard," he added. "This has been a very difficult couple of months for me. It's an empty feeling when you've been doing something for so long and been a part of something for so long. To no longer be able to do that is difficult. Part of you is not there - the part of not being a football player and not being able to go out on Sundays and play ball. I miss that. It takes a toll on you."

Rumors have been circulating about Noble ending his career to coach. He set the record straight by saying, "I have a young family, and if I have an opportunity to stay home with my family, then I want to take that opportunity. At the same time, eventually I am pretty sure that I will want to get back into the game. Whether it's at the high school level, the collegiate level or the professional level, I'll give it a run."

Although coaching is something he would one day like to explore, he is in no rush to retire from the NFL or even dig up a new career. He is using the time that he has to enjoy being at home with his a four year old son, Connor, and two year old daughter, Grace. He and his wife, Mary Kate, are expecting a baby in five weeks.

"For me personally, I want the opportunity to spend time with my wife and kids and be able to relax. To get healthy again and to put my body back together is something that I am definitely looking forward to," Noble said.

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Good story but that Patriots game was not a loss. 20-17 Washington and it was the Pats last loss until the middle of the NEXT season.

I think they're talking about a preseason game in which he was injured, and you're thinkin of the regular season game that we beat them under Spurrier.

Two different games.

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