Posted: May 21, 2012 2:14 PM by Elizabeth Hill
Updated: May 21, 2012 2:24 PM
"It's never too late, its never too late to change."
In 2002 Abbeville native Brandon Mitchell appeared to have it all. He helped the New England Patriots win a Super Bowl, had a parade thrown in his honor and was given the key to the city. But deep down struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction.
"I put my family through a lot of horrible horrible things, I put a lot of my friends in a lot of bad bad situations. I put people that cared about me in a lot of serious situations."
After retiring from the NFL in 2004 he returned to his hometown. Unable to keep any of his business endeavors going, Mitchell fell on hard times.
"Yes I had companies, but I wasn't on top of them, I wasn't taking care of them, I didn't put the energy in to keep 'em right. I made a lot of horrible decisions with money."
In December 2008 Mitchell was arrested on drug charges. He says it was a wake-up call.
"It was Brandon that made those horrible decisions. It was Brandon that lost Brandon."
Three and a half years later Mitchell is sober and on a journey to fulfill a lifelong dream. Training to throw the shot put in the Olympics.
"He's right now ranked number 25 in the US and he's only been working at it for one year."
UL coach David Bellar says it typically takes an athlete two to three years to learn the proper technique. Mitchell says he's stronger now than he ever was in the NFL.
"Now I'm working hard and I'm sleeping at night I'm relaxed so my body's recovering. I wish I did have the strength and power I have now back when I played football."
Now, in his mid-thirties, Mitchell is committed to a comeback.
"I'm thinking about those people that were there for me whenever I was down, whenever I was out my mind, whenever I was lost with no direction to go in."
Even with a Super Bowl win, a shot at the Olympics would mean even more.
"Being awake and on this journey and feeling it, yes even if I don't win I still won."