As MDS has pointed out, Bears receiver Devin Hester is paying close attention to Brandon Marshall. But Hester has paid a different kind of attention to teammate Johnny Knox, and Knox is forever grateful for it.
Knox praised Hester on Wednesday for showing true concern for Knox in the difficult months since Knox suffered a severe spinal injury during a December 2011 game.
“Devin has done a great job of keeping me positive,” Knox said, via Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “He has been more worried about my health than if or when I am going to return to the field. That means a lot to me — that he is more concerned about my health than when I am going to play again.”
Hester nearly broke down when talking about Knox on Wednesday. “It’s hard because I see Johnny every day, even on the weekend,” Hester said. “It hurts me because we’re real close. I do get real emotional because he’s like a little brother to me.”
Part of the support includes helping Knox deal with the things he needs to do to get back to playing condition. “I know he gets tired of the rehab because it’s the same thing every day,” Hester said. “You can tell he gets frustrated here and there because it seems like it’s not working. But at the same time, it’s going to be a miracle to get him back normal. . . . I’m going to stick with him, encourage him and make sure that he doesn’t give up.”
Knox appreciates that. “Devin has been there for me on and off the field throughout my career,” Knox said. “He’s someone I’ve always looked up to since the first day I got here. He is someone I truly trust as a friend.”
Hester also finds motivation in Knox’s struggle.
“Days when I don’t feel like doing anything, I kind of just sit back and look at Johnny,” Hester said. “And I’m out here complaining about practice when here’s a guy right now who wishes he could practice, let alone play in a game?
“I see what Johnny’s going through and I say to myself, ‘That could have been me.”’
Though Knox endured an injury that should happen to no football player, he’s fortunate to have a teammate like Hester. Here’s hoping that they’ll both be on the field again soon.