SAN JOSE, Calif. -- He thinks everyone has a story to tell. He does not get the fuss over his journey. But Michael Oher is so humble and so generous that even the worldwide notoriety of a Hollywood blockbuster film on his life -- something that separates him from any player in Super Bowl 50 -- is not enough to make him crow. He just wants to focus on another day's work.
You know about the 2009 Oscar-winning film The Blind Side, how Oher was homeless, adopted and rose to football stardom at Mississippi. In 2009, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, won a Super Bowl in 2013 and is back in the big game with the Carolina Panthers.
At left tackle, protecting Cam Newton's blind side.
His NFL career has waffled. Five bumpy years with the Ravens where he was shuffled from left to right tackle. A horrible, injury-plagued year with the Tennessee Titans where he allowed six sacks in 11 starts before the team cut him in February. But this Panthers season brought renewal. Newton called him in March, told him, "I need you" and those words resonated with Oher more than it might with most.
When, like Oher, your journey includes a mother who was a drug addict and a father murdered in prison, when you repeated the first and second grades, went to 11 different schools in your first nine years as a student and was dumped into foster care at age seven -- well, you instinctively know who really wants you and who really cares.
Oher said "six or seven" teams called his agent with interest in the offseason. Oher said he was in "awe" of how Newton, how all of the Panthers called and pursued him. Oher chose Carolina. And he has produced his best NFL season -- a career-low four sacks in 16 starts and a total of three penalties for 25 yards.
"Every single day I pick myself up and I work," said Oher, who usually awakens near 5:30 each morning, he said. "I've learned not to buy into what other people say. I've learned not to put dreams in other people's hands. I've learned to make sacrifices for the team."
He should have been a Pro Bowler, Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said.
"He had a great season and is a big part of us," Coleman explained. "He really worked to protect Cam this year. He is a kind person and a family man who knows how to balance football. He is the model you want young players to follow on how to balance this game with a personal view of humility."
Panthers defensive end Jared Allen added: "One of the best left tackles in the game. I played against him in years past and now that I am his teammate, seeing him now, he has come so far. He is so quiet and one of the most dedicated people you will ever see get on a football field. Once there, he turns into a pit bull."
Oher said he always thought of himself as purely a left tackle. But his teams' needs throughout his seven-year NFL career has caused him to flip from left to right tackle. It hurt his progress, he said. It was an allowance he made.
"Most people don't know that type of stuff about me," Oher said. "It just shows the kind of character and how I work as an individual because most people can't get that done. That's a big flip between left and right tackle. That's kind of like saying that you write with one hand and now you're just going to write with the other hand."
Oher has also flipped on his movie thoughts.
At first, he liked The Blind Side. A couple of years later, he hated it. Now, he appreciates it -- with perspective.
The movie initially became a blessing and a curse, he said. People knew him more for the movie than for his work in football. That bothered him. That hurt him.
Oher had to find a place of peace for all of that.
He did. He stayed humble. He focused on another day's work.
"There was a time in my life early in my NFL career where the movie just seemed to take away from me," Oher said. "It made it seem like the movie was responsible for my NFL career, not my play, not my hard work. I had to come to terms with that, deal with that. I don't talk about it too much because I don't want the movie to overshadow my work as a hardworking football player. I do know it's not someone else. I do know it's a part of me."
Movies end, though, and Oher persevered on a journey that he hopes leads to hearing himself described in a new way --- Michael Oher, two-time Super Bowl champion.
That's a story he wants to tell.