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An Uplifting Story Involving Former Cal Linebacker Zack Follett

He led the nation in tackles for loss in 2008 and played pro ball, but his work at a coffee shop saved a person

Zack Follett, who was a standout linebacker at Cal from 2005 through 2008, is the subject of an uplifting Thanksgiving-Day-type story by Tom Rinaldi.

His NFL career cut short by a serious injury, Follett later changed the life of a homeless man with a cup of coffee. Here is that story:

Follett was a first-team all-Pac-10 linebacker for Cal in 2008, when he led the nation with 23 tackles for loss, including 10.5 sacks, and forced five fumbles, one off the national lead that year. The Bears finished 9-4 that season under head coach Jeff Tedford. 

The Bears finished with winning records and a bowl berth in all four of Follett's college seasons at Cal. He wound up with 22.5 sacks, 50 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in his college career.

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Taken in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft, Follett played in 12 games for the Lions as a rookie, almost exclusively on special teams. But he started two games at linebacker in 2010 before suffering the injury that ended his season, and, in effect, his career after playing 17 NFL games.

That is when he started a Christian coffee shop called Kuppa Joy and took special interest in a homeless man he happened across on his way to work one day. And it started with a cup of coffee, which made the difference.

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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