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 yesterday I would sneak out into the hallway and you know shoot a couple emails 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’s expecting to write revolving around the same fictional character made with Bridgewater in mind. 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 win. “We all had dreams when we were younger and this book is just a snippet of my dream and how it came to reality.”
A later book in the series might take ‘Little Bear Teddy’ on an adventure, Cardona said, or possibly through a triumphant recovery like Bridgewater’s grueling 13-month turnaround from a devastating injury to an NFL practice.
“The book doesn't really deal too much about the rehab,” Bridgewater said. “That's another story maybe down the road or something like that. Just got to stay tuned.”
While the Vikings 2016 season played out, Bridgewater would review some lines or notes for the book sent by Cardona when he wasn’t in the middle of an arduous rehabilitation. Cardona said she finished the book “just in time” before Bridgewater continued his NFL career, which may spark more inspiration after he achieved the dream of playing again.
“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.”