The Warrick Dunn Story
"Because I have been able to build a reputation as a talented player, I have been able to build futures. Because I am able to play, I am able to make a difference. Because I have been blessed with a talent, I also have been given a responsibility."
Warrick Dunn was born in New Orleans, La. on January 5, 1975. Warrick lived in Baton Rouge, La. for most of his childhood and later traveled the southeast to Tallahassee, Fla, Tampa, Fla. and Atlanta, Ga., all that which he calls home.
Losing his single mother and growing up fast...
Dunn's mother, Betty Smothers, was a police officer who often worked security shifts to provide for her family. Her goal was to one day realize the American dream of home-ownership. She was killed in an robbery attempt in 1993, leaving young Warrick to raise his younger siblings.
Warrick is best known for his football career with Florida State University, the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL Atlanta Falcons. He has also gained recognition as an author for his book, Running for My Life and as a limited partner with the Atlanta Falcons.
He is much more than an accomplished athlete, though. He is a brand that represents dignity, encouragement, hard work, and talent.
Warrick is also the founder of Warrick Dunn Charities, Inc., a nonprofit organization that improves lives through innovative programming inspired by his life journey. He has received local and national recognition for his philanthropic work off the field including the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2005, the 2010 Heisman Humanitarian Award, the 2011 Jefferson Humanitarian Award for Public Service, along with many others.
Founding member of Athletes for Hope
In 2007, Warrick, along with Andre Agassi, Muhammed Ali, Lance Armstrong, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a non-profit organization which helps professional athletes and the community develop their passion for philanthropy.
Dunn's brand is part of football, business and humanitarian, but his actions are rooted in humility, work ethic and athleticism.
Warrick tells his extraordinary story in Running for My Life
Warrick tells his extraordinary story in Running for My Life, an emotional autobiography which was written along with New York Times author, Don Yaeger. In his book, Dunn details his personal story of tragedy, success, depression, denial, forgiveness and hope.
Warrick and his mother
Warrick brings the reader into his childhood and the events that molded him. As the oldest of six children, Warrick talks about his commitment to his five siblings and how they stayed together and eventually overcome the devastating loss of their mother, Betty Smothers. His transition from high school to college and his decision to attend Florida State University and the numerous people who helped him through his college years are all in the book, as well as his realization that he could play in the National Football League.
Warrick outlines the drive he had and how that influenced Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coach, Tony Dungy, to select him in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft with the 12th overall pick.
"I knew what I was capable of accomplishing on Sundays if given the opportunity. I had been scoring touchdowns all my life, from Baton Rouge to Tallahassee, and I didn't want to stop doing it now. I was looking forward to taking the next step—-better yet, clearing that next hurdle---- in my football career."
Facing the loss of his mother, Warrick's struggle to confront his past and his work through the grief helps him finally achieve peace. The hopes and dreams of his mother shine through his Charities and single parents who benefit as a result of his journey.
The book illustrates Warrick's quiet strength and his path to learning how to become a man. Readers will understand how his quest for knowledge and understanding turned this life in new directions, ultimately leading to national acclaim and recognition.
The book is for anyone who feels isolated, alone, left out, in need of inspiration or hope. It is the story of a boy who faced obstacles with a heavy heart but grew into a man while learning to make that hardship work for him.