By Randy York
The holiday season is an appropriate time to feature two Nebraska Football Hall-of-Famers who are reaching out and touching others. Mike Minter, a member of Nebraska's 2006 Hall-of-Fame class, wrote a book called The Power of a Dream, and Jason Peter, who was inducted into Nebraska's Hall-of-Fame class a year later, proved an athlete can recover from his own broken dream. Like Will Shields, who will be inducted Tuesday into the 2011 College Football Hall-of-Fame class at the 54th annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner at New York City's historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Minter is a native of Lawton, Okla. A standout on back-to-back Nebraska national championship teams in 1994 and '95, Minter became an All-Big 12 safety before spending his entire 10-year NFL career with the Carolina Panthers.
Grant Wistron and Peter were All-American teammates destined to become NFL first-round draft choices in 1997, but they shared a bigger dream...to surprise everyone, including their head coach, and return for a senior season to become the "heart and soul" of Tom Osborne's grand finale, a 42- 17 national championship romp over Peyton Manning-led Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. Wistrom and Peter were teammates, roommates and brothers in almost every sense of the word. They were catalysts in Nebraska winning 49 of 51 games over their final four seasons at Nebraska. Both became 1998 NFL first-round draft choices, and both started immediately in the pros.
Unfortunately, three national championship rings and a $7.4 million signing bonus weren't enough for Peter, who became an addict and wrote a book, Hero of the Underground: My Journey Down To Heroin & Back. The book made the national New York Times best-seller list. Fortunately, Peter successfully rehabilitated himself and returned to a productive life. Today, he and comedian Larry the Cable Guy team up for the "Jason Peter All Fore Git-R-Done Foundation Charity Golf Tournament" that benefits Lincoln's Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and supports adaptive sports and recreation programs for its patients.
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