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Bryant shares his battle


JACKSONVILLE – In his first season in Jacksonville, Jaguars defensive end Red Bryant is already making his mark in the community.

On Tuesday, Bryant visited students at R.L. Brown Elementary School in Downtown Jacksonville, and shared with students his life-long battle with dyslexia and how he worked through it to earn a college degree.

Bryant visited students in the Duval County Schools GRASP Choice Academy, a program that focuses on students in second through sixth grades who need assistance with reading fluency, comprehension, spelling, processing, writing, phonics and study skills. Many students in the program have language-based challenges, such as dyslexia.

"I remember early on I would disrupt class, and I would make it hard for other people to learn because I was struggling," Bryant told the group in the school's library. "Finally it dawned on me about eighth grade… it was not cool to be a class clown."

Bryant said one special teacher, Sue Brooks, made him realize that he was an intelligent person and just learned differently than other children. Bryant later named his child after her.

"I'm reminded of her every day."

Bryant recalled the struggles he had trying to pass the ACT for admission to Texas A&M.

"I made a 13, a 12 and an 11 – I progressively got worse as it went on," Bryant said. "My teacher filled out all the paperwork that was required for her to be able to read it (the ACT) to me, and once she read it to me I made a 21 on the test, so I was able to go to Texas A&M."

Bryant said he understands now how to work around his disability.

"If I don't understand something, my pride doesn't get in the way to ask somebody to help me," Bryant said. "It affects me when it comes to reading, and I got better over the years. Because I know the issue, I know the right questions to ask to get it resolved."

The challenge for students can be staying on track with education when things become difficult.

"This is the foundation in terms of whatever it is you aspire to be in life," Bryant told the students. "Your education is very important, so don't give up on it. Don't feel bad because sometimes it might come hard to you or sometimes you might have to do the extra stuff.

"Whether it's teachers, athletes like myself or people in high positions, we understand. We get it. We want to keep you guys encouraged."

For more information on how to enroll or support the GRASP Academy, visit

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