Saturday, April 16, 2016

Norfolk State nose tackle deals with major losses

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Walter Brantley IV has had a terrible spring.

He’s missed assignments, forgotten play calls and has, at times, appeared lost in a haze at practice.

But his coaches and teammates at Norfolk State understand and empathize with the hulking nose tackle.

In ways most of them can’t possibly comprehend, Brantley has had a terrible year.

Last May, just a few days apart, both of Brantley’s grandmothers died.

On Jan. 23, his paternal grandfather, Walter Brantley II, died of what players say they believe was heartache from the loss of his wife after a 26th year of dialysis treatment.

And then on Feb. 22, a crushing, final blow: Walter Brantley III, a popular and outgoing barber in Hampton who, his son said, “never missed a game, ever” died of congestive heart failure at 47.

So it’s easy for his peers to pardon the occasional moments when the friendly rising sophomore from Phoebus High thinks he sees his late father standing on the sidelines mid-play, only to forget exactly what he’s trying to accomplish in the present.


No comments: