Practice had just ended, and the most famous offensive lineman in the N.F.L. was still feeling feisty. Spotting a Baltimore Ravens teammate rolling on an argyle dress sock, Michael Oher nodded his way and asked, “You’re not really going to put that on, are you?” A reporter wearing a sweatshirt adorned with lacrosse sticks moseyed toward Oher, who laughed and told him, “Man, you wouldn’t last a day in the hood.”
Oher survived 16 years in the North Memphis hood, the orphaned son of a murdered father and a cocaine-addicted mother, while bouncing around foster homes and 11 different schools. An affluent white family rescued Oher, who is African-American, initially providing food, clothing and a home, and eventually adopting him as he blossomed into one of the nation’s most coveted recruits.