Defensive end Takkarist McKinley just fulfilled a promise that he made to his grandmother right before she passed away in 2011- to make it to the NFL. On Thursday night, McKinley was chosen as Atlanta Falcons' first round NFL draft pick, and the league's 26th overall pick. Overwhelmed with emotion, McKinley took a moment to honor his grandmother, Myrtle Collins, who he credits with raising him and helping him dream beyond the conditions of their neighborhood of Richmond, California.
“I made a promise to her and I stuck to it. I made that promise. I told her. Before she passed away, I was going to live my dream. I was gonna go (to a Division I college)," said McKinley while holding a photo of his grandmother.
"I was gonna get out of Richmond, I was gonna get out of Oakland. I was gonna go to the NFL. I made that promise to her, man. Thirty seconds later she passed away. And this is who I do it for."
Congratulations, Takkarist! We know that your grandmother would be very proud of you!