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NFL player inspires Hollywood

By Shanna Schwarze, HLN
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From homeless to NFL star
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Oher was a was a first-round draft pick, now playing right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens
  • Oher's story was the inspiration for "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock
  • Oher will also be playing with the Baltimore Ravens for Monday Night Football on November 16
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(CNN) -- The life story of Michael Oher sounds like something out of a movie.

The son of a crack addict, he was a homeless teenager until he met Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. The Memphis family took him into their home along with their other children, daughter Collins and son Sean Jr.

Eventually, he became a National Football League first-round draft pick, now playing right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

Oher's story became central to a book by Michael Lewis ("Moneyball") and was the inspiration for "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock. The film opens nationwide on November 20. Oher also will be playing with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.

Oher spoke exclusively to Prime News' Mike Galanos about his life, the NFL and the new movie

HLN: Have you seen the movie yet?

Michael Oher: I haven't seen it yet.

HLN: Are you anxious to see it?

Oher: Um, I guess I'll just see it when I get a chance to see it. I don't think I can make any premieres because of the [NFL] season.

HLN: Now football fans know your story, but with the book and now movie coming out, everyone's going to know your story.

Oher: It's unbelievable. I came a long way, you know, it's been a tough road and, to do something I love, something I have passion for, it's just unbelievable. To step on the field and pad up in the NFL -- I think about it every day.

HLN: So take me back, you're 16 years old and that's the first time you had your own bed [when the Tuohy family took him in]. How was that?

Oher: It was tough for me. Where I'm from a lot of people don't make it out, you know, I'm the only one that I know that made it out. To get an opportunity ... like I got, you know I had to take advantage of it. To be able to meet a family like the Tuohys, for them to take me in, knowing where I came from, things like that, shows what type of people they are, what type of heart that they have ... I owe them everything.

HLN: One of the things I love about your story -- there's hope with you. How did you keep hope alive?

Oher: I've always wanted to make it to the NFL and just be something in life. I always figured, you know, there was a better way of life, a better way to do things. ... I always wanted to go to school ... I went to school on my own, did a lot of things on my own ... I always knew that if I worked really hard, did everything I could possibly do, I could make it, be someone.

HLN: Leigh Anne Tuohy [played by Sandra Bullock in the film] has said that you're more of a blessing to them than they are to you. How does that feel?

Oher: Words can't even describe it. That means a lot to me knowing that. What they did for me, the amount of love that I have for them, you know, for them to bring me in their home... for me to know right off the bat that they care for me as a person and they want the best for me.... You can just see what type of hearts they have. It's unbelievable.

HLN: Did you think the home and security they offered you would last? That after that first meeting you would become a member of the Tuohy family?

Oher: Oh, definitely ... I got that feeling right away. You know Collins, Sean Jr., they just, they just welcomed me with open arms. It wasn't a problem, you know, somebody coming into their home. They just took me in like I was a part of their family, that's what I love about them.

HLN: As the story goes, Leigh Anne told you she loved you when you were 18. What did hearing that do to for you?

Oher: You know it showed me that it is possible to be loved. I'd never heard that before, and ... just for her to express that, I knew then that I was a part of the family and I was going to stick around.

HLN: Do you realize exactly how big this story is now? What kind of inspiration can people take away from this?

Oher: The thing that people can take from this ... reach out and lend a hand. I know so many people that have more talent than I have, that ... didn't get that opportunity that I got.

 
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