Gary Brackett was born on May 23, 1980, and is one of the most underrated players in the NFL to this day. Brackett spent most of his career flying under the radar, and proving people wrong while on his way to a very strong NFL career. He was born and raised in Glassboro, New Jersey; and played linebacker for his High School football team, Glassboro High. Brackett made a big impact for his high school team, as he was a two-time All-South Jersey selection, an honor given to the best football players from the South New Jersey area. He also was picked as an All-Group I choice two times in High School, and an All-Tri-County Conference selection twice as well.
Brackett was recruited by a few different schools after High School, but in the end decided to go to Rutgers University and walk on with the football team. He played in 44 total career games with the Scarlet Knights and racked up an impressive 274 total tackles in his college career. His biggest contributions to the team came in his junior and senior seasons though, as he was awarded the Homer Hazel Award as the team’s MVP as a junior and was the captain of the defense. His senior year was even more impressive as he remained the captain, and racked up 130 tackles, which was the second most in the Big East. Brackett also was voted as the All-South Jersey College Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season as well.
Brackett entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, and he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts back in 2003. He waited his turn to get his shot, and when that time came, he took advantage of the opportunity. In 2005 he became a starter and earned 127 tackles, three interceptions, and one sack. This incredibly strong season, matched with his leadership led the Colts naming him the defensive captain in 2006; a year in which he had 120 tackles, and played a major role in leading the Colts to a Super Bowl 41 victory over the Bears.
Some of Brackett’s most impressive stats of his career actually came outside of his Colts jersey, as he began the IMPACT Foundation to honor his brother, who passed away the same year that he was signed as a free agent. He also works alongside of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and conducts a football camp for children back in Glassboro. Brackett had a very rough 16-month span in which he lost his brother, his father, and his mother; and to honor those three members of his family, Brackett pumps his chest three times before every game in honor of them.
Brackett earned the Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award back in 2009, which is an award which is given to the NFL player who contributes in an incredible way to both his community and any charitable organizations.