Rob Ford wore a jersey of Toronto native Orlando Franklin Monday.Sunday's upcoming Super Bowl has plenty of Canadian connections, and several have been on display so far this week. Toronto-raised Orlando Franklin is the Denver Broncos' regular starting right tackle and a key member of their offensive line, and he's getting plenty of attention from Canadian media outlets thanks to his remarkable story. From CBC's Michael Shulman, here's a look at how Franklin went from in-trouble-teen to star football player:
"We really had no money,” says [childhood friend Shawn] Williams. “You would want to get food, talk to girls, so we would get in trouble. …stealing cars, trying to be cool, stuff like that.”
...The trip to jail seemed to be the sobering lesson that motivated Franklin.
His head coach with the Scarborough Thunder, Roberto Allen, says Franklin agreed to sign a contract with his mother saying that he would stay out of trouble.
Allen soon saw a change in Franklin's performance.
“That last year when he played with us he was very focused,” says Allen. “He grew, he wanted this. He kept saying to me, I’m going to be the first one to make it.”...
With Franklin starting to turn things around at home, his mother went looking for work in Florida in hopes that she could move there with him to increase his chances to advance in his football career.
"I owe so much to my mom," Franklin told the Toronto Sun.
“When I said I wanted to move to Florida, she quit her job and moved down there a week later. You have a lot of parents who want to see their kids succeed, but you don’t have a lot of people who pick up and relocate just to accommodate a 15- or 16-year-old kid.”
While that relocation and the higher visibility it gave Franklin (leading to a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he starred en route to the NFL) proved essential to Franklin's career, Sportsnet's Kristina Rutherford wrote in October that it was another decision his mother Sylvia Allen made that was the most pivotal moment for him; namely, letting him sit in a Toronto jail for six weeks in 2002:Read More »from Orlando Franklin, Rob Ford’s jersey among the many Canadian Super Bowl connections