NFL players always have come from diverse backgrounds, including privileged suburbs, rural southern towns, and crowded urban areas.
NFL alumnus Shawn Crable grew up in foster care in Ohio without a father. His athletic ability helped take him to the scenic campus at the University of Michigan where he played linebacker (2003-07) and later the Patriots drafted him on the third round in 2008. Injuries prevented him from reaching his NFL potential but now he is performing in a different manner at a high off- the- field level.
Crable, who is 34, is serving as a parent engagement coordinator with the Early Childhood Resource Center in his native Stark County, Ohio. He is specializing as a fatherhood practitioner, conducting weekly Thursday night support groups for dads at the Center. He also hosts office hours at Children Services twice a week for fathers and caseworkers, who refer fathers to his group.
“My passion in this area came from the lack of fathering that I had,” says Crable who himself was a teenage father. “When I became a young father, I started to look for what characteristics I should have to be a good one. I learned I wasn’t one back then, but I was close.”
Crable says he eventually found his three father- figures in our great sport: his high school coach Rick Shepas, his Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr and Bill Belichick.
Shawn Crable may not make the Patriots All-100 Team this season but he is having an impact on families in his hometown and that may be more important.
We at NFL Alumni congratulate him for his community involvement and thank him for helping others benefit from his real-life experiences.
(For more on Shawn Crable’s work, click here.)