When your eighth grade football team has a wide receiver who’s 7-foot-4, that can only be a good thing, right? Meet Brenden Adams, who plays for the Morgan Middle School football team in Ellensburg, Washington. Not only is he the tallest player in youth football, but at 14, he’s said to be the tallest teenager in the world.
He’s also a huge inspiration to his teammates, but for different reasons than one might think. Brenden’s height is due to a rare chromosome disorder, and he also suffers from enlarged joints and arthritis. It’s difficult for him to run, and he can’t jump; and in fact has seen little action in games.
But he has been used on special teams; his coach placing him in the middle of the line to try and block kicks. They’re also working on a special play in which Brenden, who tires easily, runs a five-yard out pattern, with the quarterback lobbing him a high pass. Already I see more of a potential upside here than with Darrius Heyward-Bey.
But mostly it’s pretty darned inspirational to see a young man getting out there and giving it his best shot. Brenden was the water boy last season, but wanted to try out for the team this year because football is his favorite sport, and he didn’t want to miss the only opportunity he would have to play.
“This year he asked if he could play for the team,” Kevin Wetzel, his coach, said. “I said if you can get a doctor’s clearance, we’d be happy to have you.”
Great story here by KXLY4 executive producer Melissa Luck.
In everyday life, people stare at Brenden a lot. “But when I’m playing football, I’m like everyone else,” he said.
Another adventure: Brenden recently appeared on “Oprah,” where he got to meet Shaquille O’Neal.
They spent the day together and Shaq gave Brenden some hard-to-find size 22 shoes — and, a lesson about being different. “He said ‘just keep your back straight and have fun,’” Brenden remembers.
“Don’t think people are weird just by the way they look,” he said. “Because I’m a nice person.”