Brian Westbrook Sr. was “the little mouse” in life once
Brian Westbrook Sr. and Lesley Van Arsdall teach kids life lessons behind the pages of a new children's book.
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Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Brian Westbrook Sr. and sports anchor, host and news reporter Lesley Van Arsdall have published 'The Mouse Who Played Football,' a book that teaches kids valuable life lessons.
Westbrook's mother once told him in high school that he could not play with the boys on the first-year team because they were too big for him. Like him in his youth, Brian, the small mouse who played football, proved everyone wrong.
During Westbrook's senior year of high school and third year at Villanova University, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a second struggle that helped him write his book.
The book encourages young readers to believe in themselves and make their unique differences their strengths.
"Throughout my life, many people said, ‘you can't do this, you're not good enough, you're not strong enough and you're not fast enough.’ Lesley and I believe that the things that you will achieve in your life are the things that you work hard to achieve, that you dedicate yourself to and sacrifice for," Westbrook Sr. said.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, Westbrook Sr. and Van Arsdall appeared together at the Free Library for a book reading, where copies of the book were also available.
Westbrook Sr. and the small mouse who played football — the main character of the book — are very much relatable.
"Brian has so many stories that he could tell. By the time he got to his senior year in college, he was breaking records left and right at Villanova. He then goes on to be a feature running back at the Philadelphia Eagles. It was still hard and he did have to fight," said Van Arsdall .
Once in college, Westbrook was an all-American player, won the Walter Payton Award, and went to the Senior Bowl. And the running back coach told him he would only play on third downs to break bad news before a game. He saw this as an opportunity that someone tried to limit him.
"I was like, ‘excuse me. This is an all-star game. I want to play to prove how good of a player I am.’ They told me that I would only get third down back," Westbrook Sr. said.
“Our message to our children, to everyone here is that no one can limit you. Except for yourself," he added. "There's going to be times when people doubt you. As a parent, I know that you are probably preaching the same thing. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Believe in yourself. If you're willing to work hard for it, if you're determined to achieve it, if you want to sacrifice for it, good things will happen for you. It will only take some time."
Throughout his playing career, Westbrook Sr. proved that the little guy could win. He played nine seasons in the NFL, including eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was a two-time Pro-Bowl running back and was named first-team All-Pro after the 2007 season, in which he led the league with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
‘The Mouse who Played Football’ can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Temple University Press, with 50% of the proceeds the book makes going to charity.