BYU fans know the end result of Steve Young's football career: he's a member of both the pro and college football halls of fame, he's the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history, he threw a record six touchdowns in a Super Bowl and his No. 8 jersey is retired at BYU.
But what kind of anxieties and challenges did Young face in his travels through a hall of fame playing career?
Critically acclaimed author Jeff Benedict chronicles the adversities and decisions the former Cougar great faced during his freshman season at BYU in an excerpt of Young's life story Benedict shared on his website.
"There are two sides to me. The anxiety-ridden side, which often fills me with fear when I most need to be at my best. This is the part of me that I don’t want anyone to know about," Young shares in the excerpt, describing the situation he faced when he began his BYU career as eighth string at quarterback. "But there’s also the ultra-competitive side. The side that hates losing and is evident every time I play sports. That’s the paradox."
Among the challenges he faced, Young dealt with the perception that left-handed quarterbacks are inferior, being asked to move to defensive back from quarterback and deciding whether or not to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Benedict also previously discussed the brotherhood he is developing with Young by helping the former quarterback tell his life history. Benedict related that beginning in 2012, he and Young, now an analyst with ESPN's Monday Night Countdown, would meet up and talk each time Young flew back East for a game.
"The first time I walked into an NFL stadium with Steve, an usher — an elderly African-American man — pulled me aside to tell me how much he admired Steve," Benedict wrote. "He said there was no one he enjoyed watching more because he played with 'courage and class.’ ”
In an interview with BYU SportsNation this week, Benedict talked about the motivation that drives Young.
"Humility usually isn't a thing that drives great athletes," Benedict said. "If you think about what it takes to be a great athlete, these are aggressive, physical games where it's very macho and very tough. Humility doesn't usually come in.
"But in Steve's case, I think one of the things that is really fascinating is that he has genuine humility. He's had it since he was little, he still has it today. … Steve has other things working in his life that were pushing him or motivating him to excel the way he did."