NFL veteran Jon Dorenbos opened up in an extended interview on Fox Nation's "After the Show Show" about his incredible story of overcoming the tragic murder of his mother by his own father, and why he decided to meet his estranged dad after 26 years.
Dorenbos was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played for several NFL teams, but he spent the majority of his career as a long snapper with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's also a professional magician who was a finalist on "America's Got Talent."
"You have such a story to tell," said Fox News anchor Jillian Mele on Friday. "You were 12 years old, that's when things really change in your life at such a young age."
"My dad murdered my mom and I was at a young enough age to where I was [able to be influnced] but I was at an old enough age to know what's going on," said the 39-year-old, whose life story is detailed in his new book, "Life Is Magic : My Inspiring Journey from Tragedy to Self-Discovery."
The Seattle Times reported on the trial and conviction of Alan Dorenbos in 1992, focusing on the reaction of Jon and his siblings as the verdict was read, writing, "The oldest child, a senior at Woodinville High School, put his head in his hands. The 15-year-old daughter wept. The 12-year-old son looked straight ahead toward his father, who showed little emotion."
"I got the therapy I needed. My family helped me. We were raised by my aunt after we lived in a foster home for about a year," Dorenbos told Jillian and the "Fox and Friends" crew.
"The world just changed, right? Everything. My dad was my hero. Right. This is the guy that is supposed to show me what life's about... show me about trust and love and all this. But yet he betrayed our family more than anybody."
"Fox and Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt asked: "How did you find that determination to go on with your life? How did you go from that to playing professional ball?"
Dorenbos responded: "I realized that I wanted to bring pride to my last name -- like I wanted people to hear my last name and not think of that. And I wanted a sense of family, so whether it was a coach or whether I was an owner, I wanted people to look back and say, 'You know what? I don't care who we could have had. It doesn't matter. I would've picked Dorenbos.'"
Dorenbos also discussed why he decided to seek out his father and speak to him as he was about to become a parent himself.
"I learned this, that the more we hold grudges, the less we forgive and the more we have bitterness, the more it affects our life... and I was kind of at that position at different stages of my life," he said.
"Right before I had my daughter, I wanted to relive that relationship [with my father], feel everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, to find the motivation to be a better father to my daughter."
Dorenbos traveled to Washington State to meet his father, who served 13 years in prison.
"Did you get all of the questions that you wanted answered, answered?" asked Fox News' Janice Dean.
"When I went there, I kind of approached this like a game plan... I had zero expectations. So what he said, whether it's what you want to hear or not, I had to make it irrelevant," he said.
"The purpose of the trip for me was to stand up, say I forgave you for being lost and making mistakes," Dorenbos said. "And I'm out. I don't want people to look back and say, 'Oh, John's an absent father because look what his dad did to him.' I didn't want excuses. I don't live like that. I think if we can take the worst things that happened to us as individuals and find motivation within it, then we can make it better for the generations to come."
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