The Lessons and Memories Football Afforded Me
I spent my entire football career on the offensive line. I liked being part of the action, defending the quarterback from linemen who were gunning for a sack. In college, I was a tackle, and I was moved to the guard position, where I played through the remainder of my career. Sure, I rarely ever got the chance to touch the ball — unless I jumped on it during a fumble — but that position fit me like a glove.
As a kid, I was engrossed in football, and I loved watching my Green Bay Packers. Jerry Kramer, who was a pulling guard for the Packers, was my hero, and I wanted to be a pulling guard just like him. All my friends played the sport, so I began in the peewee leagues.
I continued playing football throughout high school and into college at Western Carolina University. To this day, my 1969 team has the record for most wins in the school’s history, and in 2018, we were all inducted into the Hall of Fame. Looking back on my time at Western Carolina University, I believe we were truly honored to work with our coach, Bob Waters. He was a phenomenal coach and an even better man. Coach Waters knew exactly how to get each player to work toward his fullest potential, and he pushed us beyond the limits we had set for ourselves. Coach Waters passed away from ALS 10 years after I left Western Carolina University, but I’m so glad to have known him and have learned all I did from his teachings.
After graduating, I was lucky enough to play in professional football leagues. I started my career as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. The following year, I headed to the Jersey Jays, then signed a contract with the New York Jets. From there, I ventured to Canada to play with the Edmonton Eskimos, and my last professional team was a World Football Team, the Chicago Fire.
My professional career only lasted a few years, but it was amazing to be able to live out a dream I had since I was a little kid. Plus, I met some of the greats, like Joe Namath. Although, my time in the NFL was nothing like professional football is today! During the offseason, I had a part-time job as a probation officer, which ushered me into the legal field.
Without football, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I will always be grateful for those who supported me throughout my entire career, including my mom, who never missed a game. I always enjoyed the mastery of the sport required, but I was also captivated by the camaraderie and team support. Football is still a big part of my life, even today. In fact, I help raise money for elder players who weren’t afforded pensions during the early years of the NFL and other charitable causes through the NFL Alumni Association.
Football, the lessons it taught me, and the people who coached me through it are the reasons why I named my legal practice Don Turner Legal Team. I knew I wanted my practice built on the same foundation football built for my success. Every day, my team shows its strength and grit as we fight for our clients together. Nothing else could provide those lessons and determination like football does.
I guess the only thing that has really changed is my position. Now, I spend my days on the defense.