CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens reflected on the true meaning of Christmas in an open letter to Sports Illustrated.
“The true meaning of Christmas is to reflect and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
He continued, “In June of 2013, I suffered an aortic dissection… Facing long odds of survival, I realized how much I meant to the people around me. It is amazing how people let you know how much you mean to them when they think you are possibly going to die.”
“After emergency surgery, during the two months of rehab when I was at home and trying to get back to training camp, there were two things that made me the most thankful man in the world. Besides my gratitude for surviving, I am still most thankful for those two things. The first thing is the quality time my wife and I were able to spend together during the healing process. Our time together was priceless because she was with me every step of the way and helped me make a full recovery. The second thing is having the “What if I had died?” thoughts. One would think I would have regrets of the things I did wrong earlier in my life (and there were plenty of those). However, the main regrets were the things that I never did or never said. After surviving and making a full recovery, I decided to always let the people around me know what they mean to me. What is wrong with making sure your loved ones hear “I love you”? Or ensuring the people who are close to you hear “I appreciate you”? So please, use this time of year to let the people you care about know those things before it is too late. I promise that is something you will never regret,” he wrote.