Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn was remembered Saturday before friends, family and former teammates as a man whose best days were his last days.
Glenn, 43, died in a car accident Nov. 20 while returning from the Cowboys’ 38-9 loss the Philadelphia Eagles with his fiancee, Verina LeGrand.
He was funeralized at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas with Pastor Freddie Haynes reciting the late Tupac Shakur in calling Glenn “a rose who blossomed through concrete.”
Before Glenn became a star at Ohio State and before he played 12 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, he was a child of tragedy.
When Glenn was 13, his mother was killed by a man who abducted her. Glenn grew up in the foster care system in Columbus, Ohio, going from home to home with feelings of abandonment.
While Glenn was great on the field, he was star-crossed off of it with a number of challenges and pitfalls.
One thing that remained true was his love for his family and his children.
Most disappointing to all that knew Glenn is that his tragic demise came when he was seemingly in the midst of a life transformation. One of his new passions was enriching the lives of foster children like himself through the 83 Kids Foundation.
Glenn once said, “We, as humans, need that unconditional love that is an unspoken feeling that hovers over a loving family. That was the one thing I missed most. Since we, as humans, are going to make mistakes, we need that safety blanket of a loving family that won’t judge you and will be there for you when the chips are down.”
Family and friends from high school, college and the NFL were there Saturday to support his surviving family, most notably his six children: Terry Jr., Natalie, Samantha, Christian, Vanessa and Greyson.
“Terry was a like a brother to me,” said longtime friend Darius Blake. “We raised our families together. I am truly going to miss him. But it was good to hear the things said about him today. People understand Terry, the heart that he had and the passion he had for kids.
Former Cowboys and Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe gave emotional testimony about how his and Glenn’s “souls connected” on and off the field despite coming from different backgrounds.
“Terry and I had a really unique connection that was bigger than football, especially when we got back together in Dallas. I started to get to know him personally and understand him more,” Bledsoe said. “When I was with him in New England, we had some great times and great games but I hadn’t taken the time to know his demons and why he was who he was. When he got to Dallas, I got to know him and we had a special connection. I truly loved the man.”
Bledsoe said Glenn’s life was a story of transcendence, and football was only a small part of it. He said Glenn’s life was just getting to the good part because of his work with the foundation and his love for his children, and that all who loved him have an obligation to finish his story.
Right now, he just wants to play catch with Glenn one more time.
“The most heartbreaking part is we had talked a few months ago and we were going to get together and play some golf and we were going to get the football out and throw it some more,” Bledsoe said. “I was looking forward to that because it was different with him than it was with anybody else.”
Glenn played 12 seasons in the NFL and caught 593 passes for 8,823 yards and 44 touchdowns. He spent his first six seasons with Bledsoe and the Patriots, going to the Pro Bowl in 1999. In 2001, he caught Tom Brady’s first career touchdown pass.
Glenn played in 2002 for the Packers, who traded him to Dallas before the 2003 season.
He played for the Cowboys from 2003 to 2007. He had back-to-back seasons (2005-06) with more than 1,000 yards receiving.
The last two years he played with Bledsoe in Dallas while also being part of the team’s transition to Tony Romo.