Miami Dolphins starting right guard
Oher is now in his fifth season as a starting tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and was their first-round draft pick in 2009, which was the same year the movie about his life came out. It was three years prior during his sophomore season at Ole Miss that Oher met Jerry, a freshman, for the first time and learned that they were just two weeks apart in age.
They will see each other again on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium when Baltimore comes to town to face Miami. It will be the first time their teams will have faced each other since Jerry’s rookie year in 2010 when the Ravens won, 26-10, in Baltimore.
“We’re good friends and he took me under his wing when I first got to college,” said Jerry, who is in his fourth season with the Dolphins and second as a full-time starter. “I hang out with him a lot and I see him a lot but I’m not too big on communicating with anybody during the season besides my teammates. Of course we’re friends but once we’re between the white lines I’m all about getting my team a victory.”
For Jerry, being able to watch up close what Oher managed to overcome and see him transition into a top-notch NFL offensive lineman gives him optimism about his own path. Oher has started 68 consecutive games for the Ravens, lining up at right tackle his rookie year, left tackle in 2010, right tackle again in 2011 and then back to left tackle last season before moving back to the right side in the playoffs.
Miami has been patient with Jerry as well and even used him at left tackle a couple of times in 2011 after Jake Long was lost to a back injury. He battled adversity last season during training camp in front of a national television audience on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” where his weight issues played out in front of the cameras, and emerged as the starting right guard for all 16 games. But he admits what he went through is nothing close to what Oher endured before the Tuohy family in Memphis, Tennessee took him in.
“It’s amazing where that guy’s come from,” Jerry said. “The thing I think people don’t know about him most is the type of person that he is. He’s a very humble guy and a very sharing guy and a fun guy to be around. I’ve known his family ever since my freshman year in college and they’re great people. I can’t compare their lives to a movie. Of course things are going to be altered for entertainment purposes but he’s a guy that I learned from early on in my career, just the type of work he put in every single day. He really set the bar high for us at Ole Miss.”
Unlike in the movies, only one of them will get to experience a happy ending on Sunday – and as much as Jerry looks up to Oher, he is hoping he is the one smiling at the end.