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Kevin Reilly

Updated: May 20

Former NFL Player Kevin Reilly

Transformed Tragedy

into an Inspiring, Purpose-Driven Life

If Academy Awards were given to remarkable people who transformed personal tragedy into an awe-inspiring life, Insightful Player™ Kevin Reilly would win with no contest.

Kevin fulfilled his dream of playing in the NFL when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots. His football career came to a screeching halt after being diagnosed with cancer. From there on, Kevin’s entire life changed. Faced with the fact that he might not make it through surgery, the NFL ceased to matter to him. All he could think of was his wife and three young children. He deeply regIretted the time he had spent away from them.

Thankfully his life was saved, but not before radical surgery took his left arm, five ribs, and a large portion of his left shoulder. After surviving the surgery, Kevin began to question many things: What if he couldn’t button shirts, tie his ties, or even drive a car? What kind of husband and father could he be?

Despite his fears, Kevin proved "the experts" wrong about the limitations they set for him.

They said he wouldn't be back to work for a very long time. Kevin was back to work in two months, establishing a successful career with Xerox and becoming a radio announcer for the Philadelphia Eagles.

They told him he would never be able to tie his own tie and would need to use a clip on. In two months, Kevin was tying his own tie one-handed.

They told Kevin his athletic abilities and physical capacity were severely diminished. Kevin joined the company racquetball team, competing without a handicap, and plays better golf now than he did with two arms.

They insisted running wasn't even a remote possibility for him. Kevin not only runs three times a week but has completed six half-marathons and one full-marathon.

Kevin experienced additional tragedies following surgery. His 20-year marriage dissolved when his kids were in college. The combination of his Catholic faith, his strong will, and support from loved ones helped pull Kevin through.

Early in his career at Xerox, Kevin developed a habit of drinking a couple of glasses of wine after work to wind down. Shortly after the marriage broke up, the number of glasses he drank escalated. Kevin admitted to himself he had a drinking problem, joined AA, and has been sober for a long time.

Empathy has become a virtue for Kevin. He thrives on giving to others and joyfully volunteered his time to work with amputee soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

In 2006, Kevin retired from a 30-year career at Xerox to pursue a career as a motivational speaker and trainer. He inspires audiences to become relentless in finding the very best in themselves, regardless of their circumstances.

Kevin hosted the Eagles pre- and post-game radio shows. He was selected by the Eagles to be the play-by-play commentator for their 2009 exhibition pre-season games. Kevin broke a barrier by becoming the first handicapped person to host an NFL telecast. Kevin retired from the Eagles broadcast team in 2016.

Kevin was highly successful in his business life, but he felt lonely. He dated on and off for about a dozen years. Just when he was ready to give up his search to find his ideal partner, he met Paula, the love of his life. Kevin said, “The day we meet, I knew Paula was my forever love. We saw each other regularly, fell madly in love, and we were engaged in less than a year.” They got married on February 18, 2012, in the original Las Vegas chapel. Kevin joyfully became a stepfather to Paula’s young sons, Davis and Matt.

Kevin has three happily married children, Brett, Erin and Brie, and has been blessed with eleven delightful grandchildren. As Kevin said, "This extended family is my pride, joy, and love of my life!"

Kevin published a very inspiring book, Tackling Life, How Faith, Family, Friends and Fortitude kept an NFL Linebacker in the Game. You can purchase the book on Purchase the book here:

Tackling Life: How Faith, Family, Friends, and Fortitude Kept an NFL Linebacker in the Game by Kevin Reilly Through some extremely difficult circumstances in life, Kevin has become a realistic optimist and a tremendous role model.

Are you stuck in a pit of despair and pain because of the unfortunate circumstances in your life? The sole purpose of the Insightful Player® initiative is to lift your spirits to awe-inspiring heights. A wonderful purpose driven life can be yours in the midst of your tragedy when you make the decision to find it. There is hope amid the pain. Kevin Reilly’s life is a testament to this.

Instant replay of Kevin's Guiding principles:

1. Always be grateful and content with what you have. The more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for.

2. Let other people support you; don't be a Lone Ranger.

3. Face your fears but don't let them consume you.

4. Find a compelling reason to have a great life, regardless of your circumstances, and make it happen.

5. Follow your heart and don't let anyone tell you what you can't do

6. Build resilience: When you fall down, get back up. You'll be better for it.

7. Show empathy to people going through tough times and always be on the lookout for children who could use your support.

8. Reach out. For kids especially, when you see another kid sitting alone, show some kindness and befriend that kid. Acts of kindness such as these change lives.

9. Give other people something to smile about every day, especially those days when you can't find anything to smile about yourself.

Insightful Player® is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Master Certified and Board Certified Personal and Business Coach. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports as a way to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player was created to help make our world a much better place. To contact Chrissy Carew visit or call 603-897-0610.

©2010 and 2021 Coach Chrissy Carew



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