I can't stand watching talented people self-destruct. Maybe it's because I never had any talent and envied those that did? Maybe it's because I hate to see people waste something that could change their lives and their children's lives? Maybe it's because the blessing of talent often comes with a stain on the soul?
Watching Vontaze Burfict self-destruct in Indianapolis was difficult. This kid went from being a first-round pick in the 2012 draft to, quite possibly, an undrafted free- agent. Even before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, most draft experts still had Vontaze going in the first-round. Unfortunately for Vontaze, the combine turned into a combomb.
This brings me no joy. I want this young man to do right, do well and prove to himself that he is worthy of his talent, worthy of this great gift he's been given; I want him to prosper and be peaceful.
This descent into the undrafted abyss does not have to be the end for Vontaze. It should be a new beginning. Many people have to hit rock-bottom for them to actually do something about their condition. This can be Mr. Burfict's personal gnosis, a renaissance instead of dark age.
And with that in mind, I offer a personal plea:
Vontaze, you need to repent. You need to turn from the things you've done in the past. You need to stop walking in the direction you have been, turn around, and start walking the other way; you need to do a 180. You need to completely change who you are and what you believe.
If you continue down the road you're headed, I seriously doubt you will make an NFL team. You may be on the practice-squad but Sundays and Silks will most likely elude you. And even if you do make it in the NFL, even if you get paid, even if you shine your star will flicker and fade and perdition will be your reward. Stop. Turn around. And start walking the other way.
Of course, your natural inclination will be to fight what I'm saying to you. The authentic you will see this as an attack instead of sincere advice. You may think these are harsh words but if you are blessed enough to cast your lot with the Ravens, Ray Lewis is going to give you the same advice; but he'll use fire and brimstone.
This is why you need to make it your quest in life to find true humility and the peace that passes understanding. You need to realize what humility is and the power it possesses. Humility allows you to consider the words that are being offered herein. Humility is a wonderful master, Vontaze, because it allows a person to see his flaws, see where he needs to improve, see the obstacles that oppose him/her. Humility allows a man/woman to face what he must and if you're willing to face what you must you have a real chance of overcoming that which opposes you. You become…an over-comer.
Once you have embraced humility and the power thereof, you can start attacking the things that afflict you.
You need to stop being afraid to fail while competing. You withdraw from competition because you're afraid of failing. You want to be handed your trophy because you are who you are and don't feel like you should have to compete for it.
Competition is not about winning; competition is about failing and how you mitigate that failure. Nobody wins all the time, Vontaze. Michael Jordan didn't win all the time. Michael Jordan didn't play well all the time. Michael Jordan failed.
No more late hits because you're frustrated somebody would have the audacity to compete against you; no more half- hearted attempts because you're afraid of laying everything you have on the line and discovering it isn't good enough; no more injuries after you get blown up on a play so you can deceive yourself and others that may have noticed; no more blaming others for your behavior or performance; no more.
Embrace the essence of competition and understand that there will be times you fail. It's okay to be wrong, it's okay to fail; welcome to the human race. It's how you deal with your failures that ultimately end up defining you as a person. Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid of failing to correct your mistakes because this is the kind of failure that doesn't go away and ends up plaguing you your whole life.
Finally, Vontaze, be accountable and personally responsible for everything you do. The world can be a difficult place to live and flourish in, but the world isn't out to get you; there is no master plan to attack Vontaze Burfict.
And, Vontaze, I don't sit in the seat of judgment. I had to say "no more" in my own life. I squandered what I had, don't you squander what you have. If you don't believe me, just ask Ray.