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Kyshoen Jarrett uses faith, mental strength to overcome nerve damage

Kyshoen Jarrett suffered a nerve injury last season that ended his career. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

ASHBURN, Va. -- The powerful message revealed a lot about former Washington Redskins safety Kyshoen Jarrett. He hadn’t spoken about his nerve injury to his shoulder and neck, which occurred a year ago in Dallas, until tweeting about it Tuesday.

Jarrett’s tweet talked a lot about religion and his relationship with God. It also serves as a reminder how quickly the game can change one’s life. Jarrett went from being a contributing rookie with a bright future to out of the game.

“I was a sponge & it allowed me to play multiple positions sometimes all in 1 game as a “rookie”,” he wrote. “No one could understand #30. Boy, you think you’ve got the next 10+ years mapped out or what?”

After reading, you understand even more how a guy who was 5-foot-11 and around 200 pounds could survive playing multiple spots. Sometimes that meant playing roles reserved for larger bodies.

Jarrett forged forward regardless, becoming a memorable rookie. Not because he was projected to be a star; even before he got hurt I thought he’d be a role player. But he would be someone you loved to watch because of his heart. He would squeeze every ounce of talent from his body and become a leader for that reason alone. The fact that he remains a fan favorite a year after his injury is telling.

But what happened one year ago led him on a ride he did not want.

“I’ve prayed. I’ve cried. I’ve been angry,” he wrote. “I’ve wanted to fight. I’ve wanted to call it quits. I’ve put my family through an emotional roller coaster. It has been just as and/or even harder on my wife. It sucked! I didn’t want to hear about God for weeks at a time. I hurt. Can’t sugarcoat the electrical nerve pain running from my shoulder to the tips of my finger that I felt all day everyday & that NO prescription felt like it helped.”

He remembered lying on the field and being determined to not be carried off on a stretcher. He wasn’t.

“What I felt was very unfamiliar, scary & I panicked,” he wrote.

Jarrett said he let football take the place of God and that spiritually he’s in a better place. In getting there, you can understand the fight that led him from an undersized kid to being a quality rookie. It’s also clear that Jarrett will succeed in his next phase simply because of his belief in himself and his ability to overcome.

He did it before the draft. He’s doing it after his injury. He did not hide from the pain. He remained a presence at Redskins Park. He was often at practice and even last week he was in the locker room. It couldn’t have been easy for Jarrett.

But he’s clearly found some inner strength. This is no longer about football, but he continues to be an easy person to root for.