FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Every professional football player has a story to tell when it comes to their journey to the NFL.
That holds especially true for New England Patriots offensive tackle Vederian Lowe.
The Illinois native was a star on his high school football team and went on to play at the collegiate level.
He had no idea his life would take an unexpected turn during his sophomore year at the University of Illinois.
Lowe was 19 years old when he first met his now-wife Haylee. Within a few months, he learned he was going to be a father.
“I’m going to be honest, I was scared,” Lowe recalled. “I did not expect it at all and it was not something I was mentally prepared for. I was completely unaware of life.”
Lowe found his purpose the day his first son was born, adding that his life changed “with the flip of a switch.”
“That’s when I knew it was something bigger,” Lowe said. “I couldn’t be nonchalant anymore and just say, ‘It’s whatever, it’ll work itself out.'”
“Everybody wants to provide for their kids,” he continued. “I couldn’t just say that, I had to go make it happen.”
Lowe’s life would take another unexpected turn when his mother passed away unexpectedly later that same year. She never got to meet her grandson.
“I remember telling her ‘I can’t wait for you to meet my son,'” he said. “It was just very hard to deal with.”
Despite the tragic loss, Lowe refused to shut down.
“My mom always wanted me to graduate from college,” Lowe said. “She wanted me to get that degree.”
Lowe used his mother’s passing as fuel to move forward and make her proud. But he had another life-changing decision to make.
His 12-year-old brother Vydalis lived with his mother at the time of her passing, and was left behind to care for their grandmother.
“I didn’t think that was acceptable for a child that young to be doing,” Lowe said. “I really wanted to get him out of that situation.”
“I talked to my wife and we decided it was best [to take guardianship of him,]” he continued. “We asked him and he said, ‘Yeah, I would love that.'”
Lowe said he saw his brother flourish in ways he likely wouldn’t have if he’d stayed with their grandmother.
“It allowed him to truly be him,” Lowe explained. “It allowed him to find himself and not have to worry about everything that was going on.”
It also gave Lowe and his wife a new perspective on parenting.
“It really gave us clarity,” Lowe said. “It helped us figure out how we wanted to be as parents. We got to buckle down on our parenting style as young adults to make sure we were guiding him.”
“It’s something I wouldn’t take back at all,” he added. “I’m more mature than I was before.”
Lowe and his wife welcomed their second son into the world during their senior year. Now in his third year as an NFL player, Lowe continues to play with purpose.
“I’m not one of those guys that goes out there to just play or the money,” Lowe said. “I literally do it for the family that I created, that is my sole purpose of playing the game.”
“Everybody has their hardships,” he continued. “I think it really says a lot about how you react to it and how you come out of it.”