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Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel is as impressive off the field as he is on it

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New England’s first-round pick has an impressive history.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On a cold Tuesday night in December, when the players had the night off, Patriots rookie Sony Michel was at Gillette Stadium. Not to talk football, but to talk about something he loves even more, his parents. Michel met with a small group of fans in a Club Level Lounge for a panel discussion as part of the “Your Best Never Comes Easy” campaign by Gillette. The campaign is trying to reinforce the importance of the father-son relationship.

This is a relationship that can be one of the most important when growing up and dealing with adversity. In fact, 86% of men surveyed by Gillette say that their father was a key support figure when dealing with adverse situations, and 62% said they would’ve quit on their goals if not for the support of their father.

One thing that Michel said really stuck with me. It’s that his father has helped him through a lot of adversity, and the biggest thing he’s done is just be there. Sometimes just being there for your child is the most important thing that you can do. It may seem small, but the impact it has can be immeasurable. Gillette kicked this campaign off at the beginning of the season, showcasing the Seattle SeahawksShaquem Griffin, and his journey to the NFL.

The commercial was amazing and inspiring. Michel is the next piece of the puzzle for Gillette, as they seem to be looking for not only talented athletes, but great people who have faced adversity in their lives. Which brings us back to the Patriots’ first-round rookie running back and his upbringing.

His parents emigrated to the US from Haiti before Michel was born, but the hard work they have always shown has rubbed off on their son. His parents worked long hours to try to support the family, but always tried to make home life fun for their kids. Sony was committed to taking advantage of all the educational opportunities presented to him, in part because those opportunities were never afforded to his parents.

From a young age, his parents instilled important core values in their children, such as always being respectful, understanding that who you hang out with is a reflection on you, knowing that when you go anywhere you not only represent yourself, but you represent your entire family, and being detail oriented. He was literally born to be a Patriot.

He opened up about being a Patriot as well. Saying that James White, Rex Burkhead, and James Develin have been great supporters, and helped show him the ropes. He also said that Tom Brady showed him the difference between a professional and an amateur, and how much that guidance has helped him. You can tell, even after only talking with him for a few minutes, that he loves being a Patriot.

After listening to Michel talk to a crowd, then watching him interact with the people that were there, signing autographs, taking pictures, and talking with them, and then sitting down with him for a few minutes, I can tell that the Patriots found a special man with the 31st overall pick. His performance on the field has been great, but I was more impressed with the man I met off the field. As a father, and a son, I can’t imagine anything making a father more proud.

You can listen to the full interview with Sony Michel Friday morning on The Patriot Nation Podcast