Hard Work Pays Off For Guyton

Posted Jul 30, 2012

As Gary Guyton begins a new chapter of his NFL life with the Miami Dolphins, he’s going through a transitional period.

What hasn’t changed is the support he’s getting from back home and the words of encouragement he’s receiving from his mother.

“Son, you’ve got to get out there and work hard,” is how Guyton relays the conversation. “You go out there, it’s a new team, keep on working like you’ve been doing.”

Guyton doesn’t mind the push. Not one bit.

“I take it,” he says. “It’s my mother, I’m not going to tell her anything else. I’ll be like, ‘You’re right, Ma. I’m doing a great job, too.’ It’s all right, though, I’m enjoying my time.”

Make no mistake, Gary Guyton has a special relationship with his mother. For proof, all you need to see is the tattoo on Guyton’s left collarbone.

It says simply: “Janice.”

“She’s with me all the way,” Guyton says. “She’ll always be in my heart, so that’s why she’s there.”

Janice Guyton has taught Gary many things through the years, but perhaps nothing as important as how to handle difficult situations.

She taught him by example.

Back when Gary was a senior in high school, Janice Guyton was diagnosed with breast cancer. She sat her son down, explained how life would change and took the fight head on.

She kept things as normal as possible for her son, attended his games at Georgia Tech, and 10 years later she’s now cancer-free.

Through it all, she taught her son important lessons.

“Really, when things like that happen to your family members, it puts things in perspective,” Gary says. “To see a lady go through that and maintain a sense of sanity, she was always smiling even when she wasn’t in the best shape or she may be tired. For her to go through that and maintain a sense of personality and strong will, she just stayed strong through the whole thing. If my mother can do it, I surely can.

“There’s a lot of little pressures in life, but it’s OK. If my mother can do some things like that and still smile, I can do the same thing. Whatever problems or situations I’m facing, I just think of my mother. She’s the one that stayed strong and hung in there.”

As fate would have it, it wasn’t just Guyton’s mother who would be affected by cancer.

His father, Gary Sr., was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago, although Gary Jr. says he’s doing well — “He had surgery a couple of years ago, went in, new laser surgery they did. It cleared up. He’s all right now.”

Then there’s Guyton’s grandmother, who recently succumbed to cancer.

“It’s all right, though, we knew it was coming and we got a chance to say our goodbyes,” Gary Jr. says. “It makes it a little easier. Otherwise, the family is OK. It’s part of life.”

Not surprisingly, helping to find a cure for cancer is near and dear to Guyton.

He’s done a lot of work, including PSAs (public service announcements), for cancer research and awareness organizations.

No question, if he could, he’d be taking part in the third edition of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge, which is scheduled for Nov. 3-4 this year and which raised more than $1.6 million for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center since its inception in 2010.

Guyton will be in Indianapolis that weekend for the Dolphins’ game against the Colts.

The linebacker, however, will be able to do his part for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October when NFL players wear pink ribbons and other pink accessories to show their support for the cause.

Look for Guyton that month to show a lot of pink.

“If it’s pink, I’m putting it on,” he says. “I’ve got my mother, my father and my grandmother. I have more than enough reasons to support the cause and awareness.”

You can also look at some point during the season for Janice Guyton to be in the stands.

During Guyton’s four seasons with the New England Patriots, she made it a point to attend some home games — but Gary says only in the early part of the season before the weather turned cold in the Northeast.

That, of course, won’t be an issue in Miami.

“As many as she can,” Gary says. “It’ll be a good thing. Good weather, I think she’ll be down here quite a few.”

The whole Guyton clan — Gary also has a brother, Terrence — made a road trip in early February when Guyton went to the Super Bowl with the Patriots.

The game itself was disappointing in many ways for Gary, who was inactive and watched the Patriots lose to the New York Giants. But having his family around during Super Bowl week made it a memorable experience.

“There was a lot going on,” he says. “Family loved it. We all were out there. It’s a good thing to be able to be with your family and go through it together. That made it a great memory.”

Guyton is hoping for more memorable experiences with the Dolphins, experiences he can share with his family.

One thing for sure, whether his mother is in the stands or not, she won’t be very far from him.
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