With the NFL Draft April 25, wide receiver Brandon O'Brien already knew the next few days would be crucial in determining his life's plans. He just probably figured those plans would be set by what occurred at the draft in New York City, not at a marathon in the streets of Boston.
But after Monday's double bombing near the Boston Marathon's finish line, O'Brien's future became a lot more clear -- and it will involve the battlefield, not a football field. The 30-year-old former Marine has decided to re-enlist, according to NFL.com.
O'Brien's agent Brad Berkowitz told the league's site, "He said watching what happened yesterday left him with a big hole in his heart and told me he wants to ensure that this never happens again to anybody, anywhere. The kid is a real hero."
The Montana State Northern University prospect was already a remarkable story before his change of heart.
He had played on the University of Kentucky's junior varsity team... 13 years ago. As a walk-on. But he told Yahoo, "We hit upon some hard financial times at home," and that caused him to leave school and set on a path which led to him joining the Marines in 2005.
O'Brien was deployed twice to Iraq in his four years of service and received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving two people from drowning.
He enrolled at Montana State Northern University upon completion of his service and set several school receiving records. He was still regarded as a major NFL longshot, but had been impressing scouts with his size, speed and intensive pre-draft training.
Then Boston happened.
The 6' 1", 220-pound Marine had always kept an eye on returning to the military. When previously discussing the possibility of his NFL career never taking off, he told Yahoo, "I'd be totally happy with my life serving my country."
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