NFL legend Steve Young returns to alma mater, opens up about leadership and struggles with anxiety

Before driving to New Jersey to be part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast when the New York Giants hosted the Cincinnati Bengals, 1980 Greenwich (Conn.) High School alum Steve Young spent time at his alma mater.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl XXIX champion/MVP and two-time NFL MVP was back at his high school as part of a two-visit trip to promote his new memoir, “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral.” In front of 800 Greenwich students at the school’s performing arts center, Young spoke about the highs and lows he endured.

“I hope you always lean into the challenges you face,” Young told the students and staff, according to the Greenwich Time. “Don’t go around them. Go through them … All of the challenges I faced, I had this anxiety behind me. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh I’ll never make it.’ ‘This is too hard.’ But that never won. The part that won was the part that said, ‘I can do it.’ ‘Yes I can.’ ‘I’m going to lean into it and make it happen.’ This is really the only tip I can give you. No matter what you have holding you back or whatever little demons you have, never let them win.”

Per the Greenwich Time, the Brigham Young University alum spoke openly of his struggles with a disease that went undiagnosed well into his 30s, although it was with him constantly from when he left home for the first time and before nearly every game.

Young, who grew up in Riverside, Conn., also gave a mid-season Super Bowl prediction (New England Patriots versus the Dallas Cowboys).

He even got a selfie in, likely one of several.

Mostly, though, he talked about leadership and dealing with challenges.

“You’re in a very unique place in the world,” Young said, per the Greenwich Time. “This is a very unique school, one of the best public schools in America. I know this is a great place for you to find out how good you can be.”

He also delved into why he wrote the book.

“I realized my kids are going to grow up and not know my story,” Young said. “I started writing it and what came out of it were my years in Greenwich. I was voted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and the moment I was voted in I started to cry because I remembered all the great times I had growing up in Greenwich.

”Why didn’t I think about the 49ers? Why didn’t I think about college? I had great times there. But what was so impactful to me at that moment was my time in Greenwich, because the things that happen to you when you’re in high school and when you grow up are what never leave you and they’re fundamental to who we are.”

Greenwich senior Sam Colandro, a member of the football team, reflected on Young’s words.

“He’s been everywhere in life,” Colandro told the Time. “He’s been to the top of the mountain, and to know we’ve been on the same field and walked in the same hallways is pretty crazy. I really liked his message to never stop fighting and just keep on going no matter what the adversity is.”

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