March 26, 2023 3:46 pm

Two weeks just after the Bengals took Pratt in the 2019 third round out of North Carolina State, he kept Shemeka in Carolina and moved her out of Higher Point to be close to him in Charlotte. A couple of weeks just after that throughout spring ball, she told, “He’s one particular of these people today who is hungry. Hungry for accomplishment.”

Almost 4 years and about $21 million later, Bettcher is nonetheless speaking about Pratt’s hunger.

“He’s conscious what is going on on the field when it is taking place. He’s conscious in the meeting area. He’s conscious in his preparation,” Bettcher says. “He’s conscious of exactly where he’s at as a player and what he can develop at. I assume that is what keeps guys hungry. That is what keeps guys going is when they are conscious and enjoy the game. Man, these are potent combinations.”

Pratt keeps going, so it is no coincidence Bland keeps going to her job as a dwelling wellness aide. It really is not as hectic and as lengthy, she says, as these days she worked at Waffle Home and as a cleaner for industrial buildings when she wasn’t functioning dwelling wellness. These have been the days she was up at six in the morning hoped to be back dwelling by ten at evening.

Now, possibly she performs six hours at a time.

“He has told me a lot of occasions I genuinely never have to do it. But I guess I am sort of immune to it,” Bland says. “I just have two clientele. One particular is an elderly lady who nonetheless gets about fairly effectively and so we’re out and about all the time. My other client is in the afternoon and I just enjoy him. A ten-year-old disabled small boy. I like carrying out what I do. It really is genuinely my decision.”

Pratt when told a Carolina Television station that he grew up “in poverty, in the hood.” When she was 15, Bland’s father was killed and on Tuesday, just after signing on to a new chapter, Pratt acknowledged the earlier ones had their share of adversity. But they kept going to function and Shemeka Bland can nonetheless recite the objectives her seventh grade son wrote down when she sent him to Ferndale Middle College.

Get his higher college diploma. Play Division I ball. Graduate. Go to the NFL. These objectives grew at N.C. State, exactly where he would list issues he wanted to strengthen on prior to instruction camp broke. Stuff like eye discipline. Hand function. Possibly drops.

The list, he revealed Tuesday, is nonetheless increasing.

“When you have been a rookie, you have been excited to be right here. But when you happen to be in the league, you want a lot more,” Pratt mentioned. “You never just want the dollars, you want the Super Bowl and all the things that comes with it. You never play this game just for the dollars. You play mainly because you wan to leave a legacy and be a Super Bowl champion. After you leave right here, people today are not speaking about the dollars you created. They will speak about you as a Super Bowl champion. You gave it all for your group. And you left a legacy right here.”

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