Click below to read how Lewis' concluded Oher's story in The Blind Side.
At the end of Lewis' book, Oher and his friend "Craig," one of the only people in the world he truly trusts, are at a Memphis Grizzlies game:
As they found their seats, Craig asked Michael if he noticed the many people pointing and staring at him. Michael smiled and Craig could tell that he not only noticed but loved it. "What if you don't make the NFL?" was the question Craig wanted to ask next, but he didn't. Instead he asked "When you think you be ready for the league?" At that Michael laughed and said "I'm ready now."
Craig laughed. The world might have changed, but his friend had not. "He's the same guy," Craig said. "Everyone say Michael got cocky. What they don't know is that he was always cocky. He just didn't show it."
Still Craig thought Michael must be joking. He wasn't.
"I could take Dwight Freeney right now," said Michael, seriously.
Dwight Freeney played for the Indianapolis Colts. He was the most feared pass rushing defensive end in the NFL, and maybe the fastest the NFL had ever seen. He'd arrived in the NFL in 2002 with his 4.3 forty-yard dash and his wild spin moves, and quickly figured out where he needed to be: The blind side. Two seasons later he rocked the order of the football universe when he went by Jonathan Odgen and sacked the Ravens' quarterback not once but twice. No one went by Jonathan Ogden -- but Freeney did.
Freeney understood he was a man working in a tradition. When he was eight years old he'd seen a highlight film of Lawrence Taylor and right then and there knew who he was going to be when he grew up. "If you ask me to list my favorite players, I'd tell you L.T. and there be nobody second." he said. Freeney took it for granted his job was to defeat the superstar of the offensive line. Best on best. That was his great strength: finding ways to win the most important one-on-one contest on the football field. And so when he heard there was this kid down in Memphis who thought he was on his way to the league and said he could "take Dwight Freeney right now" he just laughed and said "That's the way he's got to be." But he was curious enough to ask, "Who is this kid?"
Dwight Freeney stood outside the Colts locker room sweating in his pads, helmet in his hand, and listened patiently to a summary of the brief career of Michael Oher. How Michael had been one of thirteen children born to a mother who couldn't care for them, and so had more or less raised himself on the streets of Memphis. How he hadn't reported to serious football practice until his junior year in high school -- but by then he was six five, 350 pounds and had been timed in the forty-yard dash in 4.9 seconds. How his forty yard dash time didn't really capture his speed: to appreciate his quickness you needed to watch him in short bursts. He he'd been one of the best basketball players in the state of Tennessee, and held his own on the court with high school all-Americans, and still secretly believed his natural position was shooting guard. How, on the brink of adulthood, with a measured IQ of 80, no formal education and no experience of white people, he had so insinuated himself into rich white Memphis that white people no longer noticed the color of his skin. How he was now six six and 325 pounds and the starting left tackle at Ole Miss, and a fair bet to be named to the all-SEC team at the end of the season. How, fast and strong as he had been at 350 pounds, he was faster and stronger now. How every day he felt a little bit less a lost boy and more a man with a mission.
Dwight Freeney understood the rules of the game. In the NFL, on the quarterback's blind side, you came and you went. You had your moment when you played so perfectly in the sun that you were mistaken for the sun -- and you were eclipsed. The summer before the start of the 2006 season was still his moment, and would remain his moment -- until it wasn't. Until he lost a step. Or got hurt. Or until the next Jonathan Ogden showed up and was maybe a step quicker, or fractionally more gifted, than the original. As he listened to the biography of Michael Oher, Dwight Freeney's expression changed. He was no longer smiling.
"What's his name again?" he asked.
"You tell Michael Oher I'll be waiting for him," he said, and walked into the locker room.