For Corey Ballentine, his young life has taken some dramatic turns. Last April, he was drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. What should have been one of the most joyous moments to date quickly turned to tragedy that night. Early Sunday morning, he and his fellow Washburn University teammate, Dwane Simmons were shot in Topeka, Kansas. Ballentine suffered injuries which he will recover from. Unfortunately for Simmons, he would pass away due to this senseless act. That following Monday, Ballentine paid tribute to his fallen brother on the gridiron, “God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I love you forever. Thank you for being a true friend who uplifted me, corrected me when I was in the wrong, and accepted my flaws. Thank you for being a brother to me. Thank you for letting me experience your life.”
As the former Cliff Harris Award winner for being the small-college defensive player of the year recovers from his injury and the tragic event as whole, he has found some solace. In a recent team announcement made by the New York Giants, Corey Ballentine has signed a 4-year $2.7 million contract. He still has not been cleared medically to return to the team, but will return to the Giants at some point before the start of the season. However, he has been on hand to observe the second phase of the offseason program.
While his friend and brother were taken, his dream of being an NFL defensive back is very much alive. Although he is still going through a torturous midnight, he has found a joy that comes in the morning. There is no doubt that Corey will be motivated when stepping on the field come this fall. However, he will add the memory of his fallen teammate as extra motivation for every workout, practice, and game day experience. He will no doubt honor Dwane Simmons through his performance. As his friend looks down from above, he will radiate a light of great pride for all of heaven to see. Corey may be enduring a great trial at the moment, but I am reminded of scripture that applies directly to him, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”-James 1:2-3. Your trials are great Corey, but you will indeed persevere.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!