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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Early Influence: Will Witherspoon

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”

Will Witherspoon, Titans linebacker

“I think typical stuff. My dad, Cordell, used to tell me, if you’re going to go out there, be part of the team. Hold up your end of the bargain, do what you need to do and don’t be afraid of anything.”

“I was never the biggest backer out there, I was never the biggest guy out there on the field at any particular point in time. And when I got there, part of it was that military lifestyle -- my dad served in the Air Force -- from moving around all the time and getting to know new people all the time. It was just like all right, find you place, find your role and be part of it. Don’t try to do more than that.”

“One of those things, that military thinking kind of gets stuck into you. I can still remember now, he’d come to my room for school and just knock once. ‘Time to get up.’ And that was it. Done. It’s always been that sort of simple deal, not that my dad was a military hard guy. He did what he had to. He gave me choices. He said, ‘Here’s the right choice, here’s the wrong choice, you tell me what you want to do.’

“And that was one of the great things I think about my parents. Not only did we live this military life but you kind of blossomed that whole ideal through educational experiences, moving here and there, meeting new people.

“Football wise that’s always been find your place and be willing to uphold your end of the bargain. You don’t want to be the liability for anybody. Make sure what you do what you can, and if you can do more.”