A Letter to my Newborn Son | by Jahleel Addae

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For as long as I remember, football has meant everything to me.

It’s given me an opportunity to live my dream.

It’s given me an opportunity to take care of my family.

And it’s created an avenue for me to touch other people and improve their lives off the field.

Growing up and seeing guys in the NFL that I looked up to, to now be in this position for young kids around the country, and from where I’m from, that’s a responsibility I take very seriously.

Football is something I can’t describe. To be out there playing with your brothers in front of thousands of people in the stands, and millions of people across the country, it’s something I can’t put into words.

And now to do it at the highest level, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Football has meant everything to me.

Or least that was all true until my child was born.

That was the best moment of my life. The second you were born, everything changed. 

Zion Kweku Addae, you were born on Wednesday, April 11 and nothing has been the same for me ever since.

I’m blessed to have been there every step of the way from when you were a little seed to where you are now being five months old.

You’ve changed my life completely.

Your mom, Lindsey, she is phenomenal. She is doing a tremendous job raising you while I’m away here at work. And then when I get home, getting to be your dad, having you in my life has given me a whole new purpose.

It’s the biggest blessing.

Don’t get me wrong – football still means the world to me. But it’s different now. When I take that field on Sunday, it’s for you, too. I play this game with such passion, and if anything, being a father has made me play with even more.  

I play this game with the name Addae on the back, and that represents you now, too. I’m not living for myself anymore. I’m living and playing for somebody more than me, and that’s my little me.

You can’t understand football right now, but you’ll be able to one day when you get older. You can look back at my film. At my games. You’ll YouTube it and see how your dad was a true baller. That your dad loved the game and everything that came with it. That he gave it his all. That he was tenacious. That he played the game with passion and he played it with love. That he gave his blood, sweat and tears. 

So when I take the field this Sunday, Zion, it’s not just for me.

It’s for you, too.

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The Los Angeles Chargers and Spectrum SportsNet are teaming up to deliver a new series, Backstage: Chargers presented by Toyota. The first behind-the-scenes documentary series about an NFL team to be aired in-season on a network, Backstage: Chargers takes viewers on a journey with the players, coaches and team personnel while providing exclusive access to the locker room, team meeting rooms, team plane and busses, sidelines and the field of play. With 30-minute episodes running every other week, viewers will witness first-hand the key moments and personalities that define a team, season and franchise – both on and off the field.

Backstage: Chargers access, however, doesn’t stop with the TV show. Under the Backstage: Chargers umbrella, Chargers.com will feature editorial stories that bring you inside the team in unparalleled ways all season long.

That includes first person stories written directly from the players themselves. Stay tuned throughout the year for more like Jahleel Addae’s.

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