Last Sunday, Teddy Bridgewater got his first start of this season, stepping in for Drew Brees after the New Orleans Saints quarterback underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.
The Saints won on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, 33-27, and it was hard for Bridgewater not to be emotional.
Last win nearly 4 years ago
Although it was Bridgewater’s second career start for New Orleans, it was the first time he has started and led his team to a win in nearly four years — the Saints lost the regular-season finale in 2018, Bridgewater’s first start.
As most NFL fans remember, Bridgewater suffered a severe knee injury in August 2016, just as he was about to start his third season with the Minnesota Vikings. Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the reconstruction of Bridgewater’s knee, told ESPN last year that the inside of Bridgewater’s knee was “horribly grotesque” when he cut it open.
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“It’s certainly the worst knee dislocation in sports I’ve seen without having a nerve or vessel injury. It’s an injury that about 20-25 percent of NFL players are able to come back from,” Cooper said. “It’s a horrific injury. You’ve torn every single thing in your knee and it’s hanging on by one ligament on one side like a hinge.”
The rehab was so arduous that it was nearly 14 months before Bridgewater was given the green light to return to practice.
After an offseason stint with the New York Jets in 2018, Bridgewater was traded to New Orleans just before the 2018 regular season began and spent the season as Brees’ backup.
He re-signed with the Saints earlier this year after being wooed by the Miami Dolphins.
It’s against that backdrop that we present this video, from inside the Saints’ locker room on Sunday in Seattle, after he got the game ball.
‘Cherish this moment, man’
“Hey, man,” Bridgewater says, holding the ball above his head. “I just want y’all to do one thing, man ... I’m trying not to bawl right now. Cherish this moment, man. Cherish these opportunities that we got. Cherish this feeling of winning and just...man. Never take it for granted.
“I’m so speechless ... I would not have rather been anywhere else than here, experiencing this right now in this moment with you guys. I appreciate you guys, man, for accepting me, and I love y’all.”
As he’s surrounded by his teammates, some are doing the “Choppa style” dance that Bridgewater in particular did in the locker room after Saints wins last year.
After everything he’s been through, it’s impossible not to be happy for Bridgewater.
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