Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Before Devin Hester There Was.....

Before Devin Hester, the Bears had a Pro Bowl kick returner --his name was Jerry Azumah. Azumah played just before Hester turned the kick return world on its head. Azumah had a seven-year NFL career from 1999-2005 in which he played cornerback and kick returner. Azumah was three-year starter at cornerback who had 8 interceptions in his first two years. As a former running back in college, once Azumah intercepted a pass, he was difficult to bring down. As as a kick returner, Azumah averaged 29 yards in the 2003 season, which led him to the Pro Bowl. His total kick and punt return yards of 2901 gives him the 184th spot on the all time NFL list according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Azumah was drafted in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL draft. In his first season, he was awarded the “Brian Piccolo Award” that honors the memory of the famous running back for the Bears who passed away from cancer. The award exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of its namesake.

Azumah was an All-American tailback at the University of New Hampshire who rushed for a total of 6,193 yards and set numerous records. In college he received the Sports Network Walter Payton Award (College) as the nations top offensive player in NCAA Division 1-AA Football.

After retirement from professional football, Azumah has pursued various business interests and sports commentary posts. Together with Susan Miner of Premier Relocation, Azumah began a luxury real estate concierge called Premier Athletes for professional sports franchises. Premier Athletes provides exclusive high-end residences and amenities for professional athletes to ensure a smooth transition to life in Chicago. Azumah is also involved in many charitable programs including his ASAP Foundation (Azumah Student Assistance Program) that provides scholarships to under privileged students that attend private secondary institutions in Massachusetts and Illinois.
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

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