Each player in the National Football League has a story to tell, but few stories compare to the personal and life journey rookie linebacker Keishawn Bierria has gone through to date. Bierria lost his father to cancer when he was just eight years old — and during his collegiate career at the University of Washington, he not only clashed on the gridiron, but was alongside his brothers to support their mother as she battled leukemia.
I’m a firm believer that the struggles we all endure in life make us stronger. They help change our perspective on life and even though hard to see at first, provide us with the enormous potential for growth. Undoubtedly, through all the adversity he has faced in his life, Bierria has shown incredible perseverance and the ability to overcome many obstacles. He believes those situations have helped shape him into the man he is today and looks forward to compete for a spot on the Broncos’ defense in 2018.
“It’s done a great job in shaping me. Me and my brothers have been through a lot, but that’s a testament to what I’ve done so far and what I plan to do. We don’t set limitations on ourselves,” Bierra stated during the Broncos’ recent rookie minicamp. “I believe after football I’ll do a something for the community and help kids go through situations similar to mine. I don’t really set limitations for myself. I feel like I can do it all.”
After redshirting his first year, Bierria impressed the following season and saw action in all fourteen games as a redshirt freshman, spending a majority of his time on special teams. But late in the year when the team needed him the most, he started four games and produced at a high level. Over the next three years, he continued to evolve and became a stalwart and leader on their defense, starting all but one game in that time frame.
Bierria may have not tested out of this world at the NFL Combine, but we often get too infatuated with the results of those on the field drills. What matters way more than how you workout in shorts is how you perform on tape. There is no question that he checks the plus box in that category, as he amassed 240 tackles, 19.5 for loss, as well as 7.5 sacks, seven fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles in his career with the Huskies — which he credits to his football instincts, hustle and penchant for film study.
“Instincts, hustle, film study. You listen to everything. I don’t leave anything untouched. I try to be the best I can be, whether that’s hustling to the ball or knowing exactly where I need to go. It all goes into that energy and what I can do for my teammates,” he mentioned in regard to what helped make him such a successful collegiate player.
#ICYMI on @OrangeBlue760:— Orange & Blue 760 (@OrangeBlue760) May 11, 2018
Broncos Rookie LB, @KBierria joined @redwardsradio & @MaseDenver to discuss if he was expecting the call from the Broncos, his excitement to join the Broncos organization, and his special teams experience!
Listen on @iHeartRadio https://t.co/ejOAURnQA5
Some of his Broncos teammates may not be aware of what he can do for them as a rookie, but they will find out soon enough. In his last two years on campus, he was the recipient of the Guy Flaherty Award, given to the program’s most inspirational player — which is voted on by the players on the team. Moreover, it is an incredibly rare feat for someone to win the award twice, which is evidence supporting his impeccable character and presence on and off the field.
Though being drafted late in the sixth-round might indicate many teams were sleeping on his pro potential, I wouldn’t bet against him. Truth be told, it really doesn’t matter where he was drafted. All that matters is what he does with the opportunity that lies ahead of him and by the sounds it, he is excited to get to work and show his coaches and teammates what he is cable of.
“I look forward to playing with everybody on this team. I watch all of them. I’ve watched numerous games. Going through college, we had the ability to watch NFL film and I always watch this defense,” Bierria stated. “It’s a great, high flying and great energy type of defense. They play a very sound defense. I’m excited to be around all of these guys.”
With long-term questions for the franchise at inside linebacker, he and fellow 2018 NFL Draft classmate Josey Jewell have a shot at becoming household names for the franchise’s defense in the near future. They both have the heart, they both have the hustle and they both have a historical track record of proving their doubters wrong. All of Broncos Country should be excited about what these two young men bring to the table not only as players, but as individuals who can bring leadership and service to the community.
I’m rooting for Bierria and Jewell and hope you are too.