Michael Oher, offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, missed out on earning the NFL’s top honor for a rookie, but pitched Sandra Bullock to win the Oscar for playing the part of his adoptive mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, in The Blind Side.
Just days before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida, Oher fielded reporters’ questions in an informal press conference after a presentation for NFL Rookie of the Year, Percy Harvin, wide receiver and kick returner for the Minnesota Vikings, was cancelled.
Oher, one of five Rookie of the Year finalists, started every game in 2009, 11 at right tackle and five at left tackle. In his first post season game against the New England Patriots, on Jan. 10, he didn’t allow a single sack in the 33-14 win.
Oher said the nomination was an honor. “Coming from where I come from, it’s been a long road,” he said. “To come in and play right away and to have the type of season I’ve had, it’s been a break for me and I had a lot of fun.”
The movie The Blind Side – the story of Oher’s escape from poverty and instability, and his ultimate rise to the NFL, after he was taken in by a Christian family – was a surprise box office hit last year, earning more than $150 million as well as an Oscar nomination for its star, Sandra Bullock.
Oher called the movie “inspiring” and answered a few questions about the film, but made it clear he wanted to stick to the subject of football.
“Sandra Bullock did a great job, and so did the other actors and actresses,” Oher said. “It was great.”
The comedic young actor Jae Head, who plays S.J. Tuohy – Michael’s “brother by another mother”- was another favorite of Oher. “Probably S.J., yeah, he did a great job. That’s my guy right there,” Oher laughed.
When Baptist Press asked him what his NFL team mates thought about the movie, Oher said they told him it was a “great story.” He also shared the fact that some poetic license had been taken with the story. “It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me,” he laughed.
Pushed to explain, he said the football scenes were off. “I’ve been playing football since the eighth grade,” Oher said. “I’ve always started … so I’ve always understood the game. I’m a fan of the game.”
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (www.gofbw.com), the News journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention.