Bethea, one of the greatest Safeties in the NFL will be entering his eleventh season in 2017. Bethea recently signed a three year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, prior to that he was a defensive leader of the San Francisco 49ers, and the Indianapolis Colts. Over the course of his career, Bethea has established himself not only as a dependable and stellar player, but an inspiration on and off the field.
His hard work and tenacity helped to distinguish him in the eyes of his colleagues, coaches and fans who awarded him the elite honor of Pro Bowl selections in 2007, 2009 and 2014. Bethea received many awards during his time with the Colts including the Ed Block Courage Award in 2012 and 2013 Community Man of the Year. In addition, Bethea also receiving the 2014 Bill Walsh Award (49ers Team MVP) in his first season with the team. In 2015, Bethea was inducted into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference “MEAC” Hall of Fame.
(See Bethea’s thoughts on receiving this award here )
The hard hitting safety and Super Bowl Champ leads by example, and his accomplishments are a testament to his perseverance. “Leadership is a slippery slope. This is already a veteran team,” Bethea said. “But I think my leadership has and can come naturally. I tell some of the younger guys things here and there when I think it can help and I will do that more. ” (Bethea, Full article-http://espn.go.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/8251/antoine-bethea-getting-comfortable-in-new-role)
The Virginia native’s exceptional talent garnered considerable attention during his high school years on the football field and basketball court. He went on to attend Howard University setting multiple records and was honored numerous times, including selection to the Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College All-American Team joining the likes of NFL greats such as NFL MVP Steve McNair and the most prolific tight end in NFL history, Shannon Sharpe.
While Antoine was collecting honors on the field, he was just as focused on his education. Throughout his life Antoine’s parents instilled in him a respect for education and self-discipline. The importance of education is evident in Antoine’s life as he went back to Howard University to complete his degree in Administration of Justice in May 2011. Bethea was included Howard University’s 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame class.
Equally important is his dedication to giving back to his community and sharing his story with youth in his community. Antoine has worked hard to achieve his goals in life and uses his story to encourage young people to excel. Antoine established the Safe Coverage Foundation with a commitment to providing access and resources for students to achieve their dreams of a higher education. Every year Antoine hosts several events for his foundation including his Annual AB41 Training Camp Challenge, the Annual AB41 Turkey Drive (in collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank), his Annual community day, along with his co-founding of the 757 Shutdown Academy.
Now, through his Safe Coverage Foundation established in 2010, Bethea is paying it forward to high school students in Newport News.
Created to provide access and resources for students to achieve their dreams of a higher education, the foundation organizes college tours for students at George Mason and Howard University.
Students can also apply to receive laptops and iPads for use at a two- or four-year college program.
“Without education, you’re not going to go anywhere,” Bethea said. “That’s just plain and simple. For me, I feel as though getting in those books and getting an education, our youth will have a brighter future.”
In 2010, Antoine hosted an inaugural college tour for youth from Newport News, VA to Howard University and George Mason University. The Safe Coverage College Tour aims to build a connection between inner-city high school students and universities by exposing the teenagers to campus life through visits and meetings with college counselors and faculty.
Antoine also helps to make that dream an attainable reality for college bound students through his scholarship program. His Safe Coverage Foundation includes annual youth football camps held in Virginia and D.C. Antoine and the Safe Coverage Foundation plan to have several events in the San Francisco Bay area to bring the same opportunities to the community of his new home. As Antoine continues to reach new heights in his career, he is motivated to do the same with his Safe Coverage Foundation.