GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — Ask Sherrie Kern about her son Brett, and she’ll pull out a binder filled with photos and article clippings that capture some of their favorite moments.
"As far as what he’s done and pursues and strives for, I'm very proud," she said.
Sherrie and Cal are the parents of Brett Kern, a Grand Island graduate and NFL punter.
"Sometimes I pinch myself," Cal said. "Like that’s my boy, that’s my soccer kid and he’s in the NFL.”
Brett played soccer his entire life until he one day picked up a football and never looked back. His parents discovered just how talented he was at an out of state football camp.
"One of the competitions at the camp was who can kick this outside of the wall and onto the street. Nobody did it, but Brett did it," she recalled. "I think that was the first time we were like, whoa.”
It's a talent that earned Brett a spot on the Toledo football team, with the NFL to follow a few years later, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2018.
He’s been with the Tennessee Titans since 2009, and is no stranger to the pressure. His parents, on the other hand, still haven’t adapted.
"It’s not relaxing for me until he doesn’t punt anymore," Cal said. "I’m stressed, I admit it!”
Sherrie: “You almost don’t want him to punt, but you want to see him punt," Sherrie added.
It's not an easy situation to be in, but the Kerns have handled it well. Because their son is doing something only 31 other guys in the league get to do, showing kids in Western New York that they, too, can make it.
"Don’t give up, keep pursuing your dream," she said. "I mean that’s what Brett did.”
"It was organic," Cal added. "We just let it go and it’s been a real blessing.”
Kern is currently on the NFL's COVID/Reserve list but is expected to return to the starting lineup in a few weeks.