Saturday, August 25, 2012

Patrick Willis Asked to Be Godfather of NaVorro Bowman's Newborn Twins

What makes NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis so good as inside linebackers is their ability to play together. They’ve gotten to the point where they will even switch positions so the opposing offense can’t get a consistent read on what the 49ers defense is doing.

They are also close off the field, with Bowman asking Willis to be the god father to Bowman’s twins when they were born this off-season.

Willis said he thinks about being a godfather everyday and was deeply touched when Bowman asked him for the honor. “That’s probably one of the biggest things as an individual is to be asked to be someone’s godfather,” Willis said. “I know, he knows a lot of people so I was like, ‘Me. Really?’”
Willis and Bowman share a bond partially due to growing up in hard circumstances. Willis grew up as the son of an alcoholic and sometimes violent father. Bowman was reared in a neighborhood near Washington D.C. where gang violence was commonplace.

Both have also suffered tragedies. Willis lost his brother, Detric, in a drowning accident, and Bowman’s father, Hillard, passed away when he was at Penn State of a blood clot. Shortly afterwards, Bowman’s mentor and former high school coach, Nick Lynch, was killed in a car accident right before Penn State played in the 2009 Rose Bowl.

“We come from different places, but we have a similar drive with the way we grew up,” Willis said.
And while both are supremely talented, they view playing inside linebacker not as an competition but an opportunity.

” I just look at the opportunity of playing with him as us being some of the best linebackers in the league,” Willis said. “That opportunity doesn’t come around very often.”

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