What is Michael Oher’s story? The real Michael who inspired ‘The Blind Side’
As Michael Oher makes headlines with his petition challenging his adoption by the Tuohys, we dive deeper into the life of the former NFL star, before and after the narrative depicted in ‘The Blind Side.’
Michael Oher, whose adoption story inspired “The Blind Side” movie, has gone to court in Tennessee, claiming that a key part of the movie was untrue and that the Tuohy family benefited from it.
But who was the real Michael? And how did his life change after the Tuohys came around? Let’s delve deeper into the story of the former NFL star.
Oher’s early life was marked by adversity. Born in Memphis, Tenn., to an alcoholic mother struggling with addiction and a father entangled in the criminal justice system, Oher endured a tough childhood, attending multiple schools and facing periods of foster care and homelessness.
Michael Oher moves in with the Tuohys
Oher’s journey took a transformative turn when he immersed himself in football during his freshman year at a Memphis public high school. Later, seeking better opportunities, he sought admission to Briarcrest Christian High School in Shelby County, Tenn., where Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, parents of his schoolmates, welcomed him into their home. Recognizing his potential, they provided vital support, including hiring a tutor.
Oher’s achievements extended beyond the gridiron, as he excelled in track and basketball at Briarcrest. In his final year, he scored an average of 22 points and 10 rebounds, leading to a district championship and being chosen for the All-State team. Oher was also a state runner-up in Discus and participated in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Michael plays for Ole Miss
Oher then decided to play for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), gaining attention as a top recruit despite low grades. He improved his grades by taking an online course, enabling him to attend Ole Miss. He excelled in football at the University and earned various awards, including being recognized as an All-American and receiving honors like the Shug Jordan Award and the SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
He initially considered entering the 2008 NFL Draft but chose to finish his senior year at Ole Miss and joined the 2009 NFL Draft instead.
Oher drafted by the Ravens
In the 2009 NFL draft, Oher was picked by the Baltimore Ravens as the 23rd overall selection. He signed a rookie contract worth $13.8 million for five years. He played different tackle positions in his first year and was a close runner-up for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
In the 2012 season, Oher played a pivotal role in helping the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.
Oher signs four-year contract with the Titans
He later joined the Tennessee Titans, signing a four-year $20 million contract in 2014. Injuries led to his release from the Titans in 2015. Oher signed a two-year $7 million contract with the Carolina Panthers afterward, contributing to their Super Bowl 50 appearance.
Michael Oher retires from the NFL
While it was a great contract, Oher’s injuries got in the way again, not allowing him to play. He eventually retired after playing eight seasons in the NFL, earning a total of $34,506,875.
Alongside his adoptive family, Oher established the Oher Foundation, which supports underprivileged children, fosters education, and assists those in need.
Oher not satisfied with family care
In August 2023, Oher filed a lawsuit in Tennessee to end his conservatorship with the Tuohys. He alleged that they had lied about adopting him, and he demanded a share of the profits they made from his story, including from “The Blind Side.” This legal action followed the release of Oher’s book, “Michael Oher: When Your Back’s Against the Wall.”