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Former Philadelphia Eagle Brian Westbrook reads new children's book at Brandywine Library

Former NFL star Brian Westbrook is now a children’s book author, and Friday he visited the Brandywine Hundred Library on Friday to share his book with around 200 fans – kids and parents.

The Mouse Who Played Football tells the story of Westbrook’s own life, and how he overcame criticisms of his size, speed, and strength, to make it to the NFL.

“When Brian took the field for one of his first college games," Westbrook reads from the book the other team looked at him and smirked. ‘Too small. Tough little fellow, but I'm not sure he has what it takes. Well, he sure showed them. Rats! The other team groaned as Brian whizzed past them to score his third touchdown of the game."

Westbrook says as a parent of three, he knows it’s hard to get messages to sink in and he found writing the book a great way to make his message about hard work and perseverance accessible.

And it’s a message he knows fans will appreciate.

“Philadelphia is a type of town that's gonna work their butt off and they always operate with a chip on their shoulder," Westbrook said. "And that's great. I love it. This town fits me perfectly because someone is always doubting Philadelphia. Someone's always saying something bad about Philadelphia. But we get up and we grind every single day in spite of that. That’s the type of player that I always wanted to be remembered to be.”

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Rachel Sawicki
/
Delaware Public Media
Brian Westbrook's new children's book, The Mouse Who Played Football.

He adds creating a book that is meaningful to all kids also helps teach the importance of reading, and the imagination and messages that children learn from it.

“It was one of my goals in the NFL to say, ‘I'm not just a third down back. I'm not just a substitute team player. I'm someone that can do anything that I want to do, as long as I'm willing to work hard for it as long as I'm willing to sacrifice for it as long as I dedicate myself to do it,'" Westbrook said. "So, no matter what, make sure that you use your strengths, whatever your strengths are, as your strengths, and don't allow other people to think of them as weaknesses.”

Westbrook says telling his three kids important lessons doesn’t usually sink in, inspiring to write a children’s book to put his message of hard work and perseverance in a form every child can understand.

The criticism Westbrook received is a part of life, he says, and the book is about responding to it in a positive way.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.