ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — Tarik Cohen has a lot on his mind.
Bears training camp is just around the corner, raised expectations after making the Pro Bowl last year, but at the forefront – his little brother, Danta Norman, who was recently shot and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
“I feel like I was injured also,” explained Cohen at his ProCamp Monday. “Somebody I’ve been around my whole life. I feel like we’re one. It’s not like he’s a different person. We’re the same person. If anything affects him, it affects me. That’s my little brother. Did my best to protect him my whole life. When this happened it was like a culture shock to me. I try to just be around him and encourage him as much as possible. Let him know that everything is going to be alright.”
Cohen hadn’t told anyone before this weekend.
He was inspired to do so after seeing 13-year-old Demarion Abram holding the Outstanding Camper Award in his wheelchair with a big smile on his face at Cohen’s camp in North Carolina.
“He just showed me that you can still have fun and have passion in your life without holding back being in a wheelchair. I see my brother in him. Anything he was doing today,” Cohen told WGHP Saturday. “I was looking at him and I saw my brother. My brother still has his life and he can still carry on to have a his life and live his life.”
Cohen is using what happened to his younger half-brother as motivation moving forward, giving him a new driving force in his everyday life.
“I just want to do things for him. I know it’s not possible, but I want to walk for him. I want to experience things in my life and let him see those things so that he can feel as if he’s done it also.”
“I feel like definitely he’s my purpose. They’ve always been my purpose — my brothers and my mom — that’s my dominant family who I grew up with, seeing them everyday. I feel like it adds a little more fuel to that fire now.”
WGHP in Greensboro, North Carolina contributed to this story.