Mark’s road to success was unique in that it bore the footprints of a father whom he hardly knew during his formative years, but without whose help, he would have never survived his own journey much less live to tell about it. His athletic prowess became apparent during his formative years in Arkansas at Pine Bluff High School.
An ACL injury ended his short and unproductive career at UAPB, but revived his career after being encouraged to transfer to his father’s alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. Though terrified and still uncertain about life, Mark continued to encounter several unexpected setbacks that challenged all hope and resolve. However, the tragic circumstances this young man had to tangle with might not be that uncommon, but the people that held him hostage regarding these state of affairs, were.
Many of you might be aware of Mark’s remarkable, out of nowhere, contributions to the Sooners Football program, helping OU to reach and make an appearance in two-straight BCS Bowls between 2003-2004, that led to two-straight National Championship games in the Sugar Bowl vs. LSU, and Orange Bowl vs. Southern Cal; but none of you were aware of the “unusual” circumstances and challenges he faced within his own family.
Nevertheless, Mark’s play led him to being selected by the Chicago Bears in the 2005 NFL Collegiate Draft as the 39th player taken. Six seasons later, after brief stays with the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Bucs, and New Orleans Saints, Mark Bradley confesses that while “1nsepara6le” is a story about the multitude of emotional struggles he encountered the first 25 years of his life, including thoughts of suicide, while caught up in the midst of parental warfare, the message of his book documents the “unpredictable” sacrifices his father made in the face of incredible opposition from his mother and family that allowed him to come to a more productive and prosperous end.
And with nearly forty-percent of the nation’s households fatherless, Mark became aware that absenteeism was running rampant throughout America. His household was not any different. His father, likewise, was absent, but not by choice, but rather by circumstance. In fact, Mark had the unusual circumstance of having several fathers claiming their rights as Daddy, including a step-dad who married into his home, which created a serious dysfunctional and unhealthy environment; one that produced an ugly warfare between four different daddies linked to four different families; making this kid a part of a second statistical number of which nearly eighteen-percent of those households that “do” have fathers in the home that still lacked many of the essential parenting skills to properly teach and guide the youth in such home.
Therefore, his life, too, was often chaotic and at times catastrophic, leaving him with no hope until his “biological” father decided to walk away from the NFL, as a player, himself, to fight for his parental right to be an accountable dad to his five-year-old son; a decision that allowed this once-upon-time disturbed kid, the opportunity to someday live that same NFL dream, despite the tumultuous and socially impaired upbringing, chronicled by USA Today in its cover story, the BCS National Title game (OU vs. SC); the same Championship his father starred in twenty years earlier, titled “At Orange Bowl, Football Dreams are in the Genes”, by Kelly Whiteside.