Bellwood native Antonio Morrison is looking to make an impact with the Indianapolis Colts this NFL season. | floridagators.com || Below: Morrison at the Colts training camp | Indianapolis Colts
Bellwood native Antonio Morrison, 21, is no stranger to struggle.
“My mom is from the Cabrini Green projects and my dad is from Englewood, you know what I’m saying?” Morrison told the Chicago Sun-Times in January.
Buoyed by that legacy of toughness, he played his way out of his humble beginnings by excelling at Bolingbrook High High School before going on to the University of Florida. The struggle, however, wasn’t over.
He was arrested two times in roughly a month in the summer of 2013, according to the Sun-Times. The first arrest, which involved a scuffle outside of a bar, resulted in a fine and community service. The other arrest involved accusations that Morrison barked at a police dog and resisted arrest. The charges were soon dismissed.
The next year, when he was a junior, Morrison confronted even larger obstacles after tearing multiple ligaments in his left knee. It could easily have been a career-ending injury, but the Bellwood native wouldn’t have it.
After two surgeries, he returned his senior year and made over 100 tackles, including a forced fumble, and became “the first Florida player to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since Ed Robinson in 1992-93,” according to the Bugle Newspaper.
His performance at Florida was enough to earn him a trip to the NFL draft combine in Indianapolis, but Morrison was forced to skip the once-in-a-lifetime invitational after an infection hit.
As with past struggles, Morrison pushed through that setback before attracting the attention of the Indianapolis Colts, who selected him in the 4th round. He was the 125th selection overall and the first Bolingbrook High alum ever drafted into the NFL.
“Those things were unfortunate, but I fought through them,” Morrison told the Bugle. “They weren’t anything that brought me down. I have worked for it and I have earned this. I have dreamed of this since I was a kid and it is great to be here, but I have bigger dreams and goals, so I have to keep working.”
Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson reportedly raved about Morrison on draft day.
“This kid is pure Chicago tough,” Grigson told reporters. “He is a tough hombre and he plays that way. He plays lights out.”
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