The Tamed Bull
John "Bull" Bramlett was the best at what he did, and what he did best was hurt people. He hurt
strangers. He hurt friends. He hurt his wife and two sons. Most of all, he hurt himself.
Being respected meant being tough in north Memphis, Tennessee. As a teenager, John
Bramlett could out-smoke, out-drink, out-cussand out-fight almost any man in Memphis. He
was a legend.
Football was a perfect outlet for him. But coaches said he was too small and too injury prone to play. John proved them wrong. He made the All-Memphis, All-State and All-American high school teams as an offensive guard and linebacker, weighing only 160 pounds.
At Memphis State University, John's aggressive violence earned him a position on the football team as a freshman. He went on to be named honorable mention All-American his senior year. He also led the Tiger baseball team in hitting for four years.
Too small for pro football, John signed a pro baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. But his fighting, drinking, drugs and dirty tricks got him kicked out of baseball after two years. Bramlett was unmanageable.
Having cheated his way through high school and college, John's future appeared bleak. But he had one more chance. By strenuous exercise he built himself up from 180 pounds to 223 pounds and tried out for the Denver Broncos. He made the first team as a linebacker and was named runner-up Rookie of the Year behind Joe Namath.
During his pro football career, John Bramlett made the All-Pro Teams, went to two Pro Bowls and was named the "Most Valuable Player" for the New England Patriots in 1970. He also landed in jails all over the country and was named the "Meanest Man in Football."
When he reached this point in life, Bramlett says, "I had everything a man could want: money, prestige, respect, women, television spots, even my picture on bubble gum cards. I was somebody. I had arrived.
"But something was missing. I was never satisfied. I was never happy. One night two laymen came by my home and shared how Jesus loved me and wanted to give me a brand new life. They said that all I had to do was ask Jesus for it. I did that. I repented of my sins and asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. And do you know what? He came into my life. And he has given me the assurance in my heart that if I died today I would go to heaven."
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