Former NFL defensive tackle Brandon Bair never found the end zone during his 21 games over two seasons. He never made a Pro Bowl. He never won a Super Bowl.
But Bair became a hero in life, rescuing a truck driver last year after the man’s semi was struck by a train.
It has earned Bair a Carnegie Medal, which is billed as North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism.
Bair was driving on a highway in St. Anthony, Idaho, when he saw a train hit a semitruck, which burst into flames. After calling 911, Bair jumped into action and pulled driver Steven Jenson to safety after hearing a cry for help.
Bair climbed partway into the wreckage and pulled out the then-25-year-old Jenson through a rear window behind the passenger and driver’s seat.
“Bair aided Jenson off the tracks then, with help from another man, moved Jenson farther away as the fire grew to consume the truck,” the Carnegie site wrote. “Jenson, who suffered burns to his legs and other injuries, was flown to a hospital and underwent treatment for about three weeks.”
Bair, 37, signed with the Chiefs in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon. He played for the Eagles and Raiders, retiring after the 2015 season.
The Carnegie Medal is given to heroes in North America “who enter extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.” The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, per the Kansas City Star, said Bair will receive a financial grant.