Teddy Bridgewater says his first dream of playing in the NFL began when he was 4 years old. That's the dream covered in "Little Bear Teddy," the children's book authored by his girlfriend, Erika Cardona, and released this summer.
The creation of the book, however, spanned the life of Bridgewater's second dream — playing in the NFL again. Both the dream and book began while the Vikings quarterback was sedated inside a room of the Carrell Clinic in Dallas, where he underwent multi-ligament reconstruction on his once-dislocated left knee in September 2016.
"He found out [Monday] I would sneak out into the hallway and you know shoot a couple e-mails or look for the illustrator," Cardona said Tuesday. "Just to get out of the element and try to cope with it as best I could."
"Little Bear Teddy" is the first in a series Cardona said she expects to write. And like Bridgewater, two white gloves on the book series' logo give it a familiar symbol.
"Every child has a dream, whether it's to be a firefighter, doctor, lawyer, football player," said Bridgewater, who played his first snaps since the injury at the end of Sunday's 34-7 victory over Cincinnati. "We all had dreams when we were younger, and this book is just a snippet of my dream and how it came to reality."
Cardona said she finished the book "just in time" before Bridgewater continued his NFL career, which might spark more inspiration for young readers.
"Then in the end it tells readers, 'Now you close your eyes tight and dream a dream with all of your might, because just like 'Little Bear Teddy,' no dream is too big for you to achieve,' " Cardona said. "Even thinking about a year ago, when he got injured, we were all waiting for that comeback. And on Sunday, we saw that reality come to life."