Denver Bronco with Toronto roots one win away from Super Bowl
Orlando Franklin played 2 season of high school football in Scarborough
A professional football player with Toronto roots could be headed to the Super Bowl if the Denver Broncos are victorious on Sunday.
Orlando Franklin, a 26-year-old offensive tackle, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to Toronto where he would eventually play two seasons of high school football in Scarborough.
Standing 6'7", and weighing 330 pounds, he's been tasked with one of the most important jobs in the NFL - protecting star quarterback Peyton Manning.
But others can still recall Franklin in his early days when he was still a goofy kid with big rimmed glasses.
He has a big heart. He knew what he wanted and went after it.- Charles Wiltshire
Childhood friend Shawn Williams took Franklin to his first football practice with the Scarborough Thunder.
"When he would laugh as a kid it was like a snort," Williams said.
But after a robbery charge landed Franklin in jail, Charles Wiltshire took both boys into his home to keep them out of trouble.
"He has a big heart," said Wiltshire. "He knew what he wanted and went after it."
Franklin emerged as a star player and moved to Florida for his last year of high school to attract the attention of college scouts. The bold decision would land him in the University of Miami's starting lineup.
Since being drafted by the Broncos in 2011, Franklin has established himself as a force on the football field
but he's never forgotten his friends and family back home
He continues to work with youth in his old neighbourhood when he returns to Toronto.
While a win on Sunday would mean a chance at professional football's greatest prize, those who know Franklin best say he's already won.
"Seeing him today, on the field, he is a different person," Williams said.
With files from Charlsie Agro