The only number Justin Rodgers from North Carolina wanted to wear on his Cary Imps jersey is 34, like his elder brother Chase. After the latter’s life was cut by drugs, Justin set to fulfill Chase’s football hopes.
Chase never used drugs in his brother’s presence, but Justin watched his whole downfall.
Chase, a gifted football player, began to use alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy at high school. His grades went downhill, so the family sent Chase to a military academy in Virginia for a year. After return, his academics and playing got better.
The young man accepted a football scholarship at Lindenwood University, but slipped into abuse again, and got expelled. When Chase returned home, his problems had just begun.
I just want to finish what he started, and every game is a step on that long and hard journey
For Justin it was impossible to communicate with brother the way he did when they were kids. Back then, Chase was easy-going and fun-loving, always willing to prank his younger brother. Justin started to play football only because of Chase.
Addicted Сhase found little time for the little brother, and when he did, Justin was not happy.
“He started seeing some of his previous friends from Cary and they weren’t the right crowd,” Justin told The News Observer. “He was hostile at times — it wasn’t the brotherly fights.”
One night in 2014, Rodgers family expected Сhase for a dinner. They got a phone call instead. The young man died in the single-car accident near Wade Avenue.
Let this be a lesson to never take anything for granted and to always make good decisions
Devastated, Justin made himself a promise to remember Сhase in his good years:
“I always wanted to ball like my brother,” Justin wrote on his Twitter. “I thought it was so cool how he got carried off the field at Cary after his game winning interception.”
To honor brother’s memory, Rodgers set a goal: to play college football.
“I just want to finish what he started, and every game is a step on that long and hard journey.”
Ever since the crash, Justin proudly wore 34 on his jersey. This year, he was an all-conference defensive, and ended his high school career in November of 2017 with impressive 40-yard dash.
Justin’s performance initially caught the interest of some smaller schools, but in January this year the graduate received a scholarship offer from St. Andrews University.
It looks like Сhase’s dream will be fulfilled:
“Let this be a lesson to never take anything for granted and to always make good decisions.”
Featured Image: Justin Rodgers/Facebook