Good evening - it's great to be here.

Many thanks to Mayor Castro, other civic and business leaders and the people of San Antonio for your gracious hospitality. And, thank you for your continued, strong support of this game and the United States Army.

Thanks also to President Ben Brewer and the Rotary Club of San Antonio for its partnership in sponsoring this dinner. And, thanks for the tremendous work you do on behalf of the at-risk youth in this area.

Finally, congratulations to the All-American Bowl Players. You are among our Nation's most gifted and talented athletes and we're looking forward to seeing you play a great game tomorrow afternoon.
For many of you this will be your first time playing in front of such a large crowd on national television. Everything is new - the coaches, your teammates, the play calls, the stadium - everything. That's how it is in the Army; Soldiers are frequently assigned to new units and deployed around the world to fight our Nation's wars.

Both of these challenging circumstances offer tremendous opportunity. However, I'll tell you the same thing I tell those Soldiers...

The military and the world of sports share many of the same core values...including discipline, pursuit of excellence and respect for others. And, your success, much like a Soldier's success, will depend upon how well you demonstrate these principles in your everyday lives.

As you continue on in your careers, at the college level and beyond, make sure you always remember that the bedrock of your personal and professional success is the strength of your character, how you conduct yourself - both on and off the field, your integrity.

As coaching legend John Wooden famously said: "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there." Never, ever compromise your character. That's rule number one.

The second most important thing is teamwork. Football - like the military - is a team sport. You win as a team, you lose as a team, whether it's a battle or a ballgame.

No matter how good you are - and, all of you have proven you're among the very best; if you can't work well as a member of the team, you won't be successful. It's that simple.

College football's greatest head coach, Knute Rockne said, "The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. He said, "As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven."

This principle applies on the gridiron and on the battlefield. What each of you does as an individual is significant. But, the contributions you make each and every day to further the efforts of your team are most important.

Strength of character and teamwork, these will prove key to your success, on the football field and in life.

We are extremely fortunate to have a young man here with us tonight who has proven the accuracy of this statement by his tremendous example. He's just finished a remarkable rookie season with the Detroit Lions.

Ndamukong Suh has been described by one online reporter with The Sporting News as having "... the feet of a dancer and the size and strength of an upright rhinoceros."

His college opponent, Arkansas State's Tom Castilaw compared to him to a "train going full speed."

His mom, Bernadette Suh says he's "a very gentle guy. Kindhearted. Soft."

You can always count on mom.

However, I don't believe there are many quarterbacks out there who happen to agree with her, certainly not Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Jon Kitna, Tom Brady, or Chad Henne.

Needless to say, Suh had an amazing first season with the Lions that included 10 sacks and 66 tackles. It's no surprise he's quickly become a fan favorite with his name - his last name that is - frequently chanted by crowd, at home and away games.

That tradition actually started years ago during his playing days at the University of Nebraska where Suh started 39 of 53 games, recording 215 tackles, 125 of those solo tackles, with 24 quarterback sacks for minus 187 yards, 57 stops for losses of 252 yards and 39 pressures.

During his five-year career with the Cornhuskers, he caused three fumbles and recovered another, intercepted four passes for 79 yards in returns that included two touchdowns and also recorded 15 pass defenses.

He also added a two-yard touchdown pass and blocked six kicks. His 57 tackles behind the line of scrimmage rank second in school history and lead all active NCAA defensive tackles and rank second overall.

As a senior at Nebraska, Suh became one of the most decorated defensive players in college football history. He was the first defensive player ever to receive the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award.

He also earned AP first-team All-American honors, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Lombardi Award, the Outland Trophy and the Bill Willis Trophy.

He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

Suh grew up in Oregon, where he earned Parade All-America honors and was voted the 2004 Portland Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year and the state Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year. He is also an alumnus of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2005.

Suh's Mom, Bernadette is from Jamaica, his Dad, Michael is from Cameroon. Together they instilled in their young son the core values that have made him an
incredibly skilled and talented athlete and a good, honorable man.

Last year, before he was drafted second overall, before he signed any contract, Suh announced a $2.6 million donation to his alma mater, the University of Nebraska,

Two million of his gift went to Nebraska Athletics for its Strength and Conditioning Program. The remaining $600,000 created an endowment scholarship for the College of Engineering.

Suh also volunteers much of his time at local hospitals and schools in support of youth programs.

In the months and years ahead as all of you continue on in your football careers in college and beyond, this is the guy you should look to as a role model. Watch how he conducts himself on and off the field. Learn from his example and you too will be successful.

I was reading through some articles about Suh on the way down here from Washington, D.C. this afternoon and I came across a great quote:

"You work for success," Suh said. "You don't just hope for it to be there one day and don't do anything for it and hope you luck into it. If I want to be the greatest, you've got to work like you're the greatest."

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the podium a man who is sure to be one of the greatest, number 90, Mr. Ndamu.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16