Neil Smith: NFL player and author

Born: April 10, 1966

When Neil Smith entered the University of Nebraska, his professors were shocked to learn that he only read at a third grade level.  Neil was also surprised, since he had been moved along through school without any special tests or training.

It was a lonely and painful time for me, the hardest point of my life. The time I had to spend with tutors and in the study hall and with my teachers. A lot of my friends would be going out and I could not. I stayed home and worked. But it was a turning point in my life.

Now a successful football player, he is also an author of the autobiography Yes I Can, written to encourage children with dyslexia to reach for the stars. He has also served as the national spokesman for the award organization by the same name.

I am honored to participate. These children are an inspiration to all of us. They prove, over and over again that no problem is insurmountable and that all we have to do is work hard and persevere to achieve our dreams.