Tragedy also struck during the offseason for Shaq Barrett, an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His 2-year-old daughter Arrayah drowned in the family’s swimming pool in April.
Returning to football has been difficult, he said, because the grief “comes in waves.” To get through, his family has been leaning on one another and on God.
In hindsight, Barrett said a season-ending injury in fall 2022 proved to be a blessing. “I’m not happy that I got hurt, but I’m happy that I got to spend all of the extra time with [Arrayah],” he said. “Looking back, I’m glad I was able to have all of that extra time with her.”
When Barrett and the Bucs won the Super Bowl in February 2021, the O-lineman praised God, calling him the source of all his strength and blessings. “I want to give [God] all the praise, honor and glory,” said Barrett. “That’s the reason why I’m able to do everything that I’m able to do on the field, off the field. It’s all because of him.”