On Wednesday night, Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow came to an agreement that would make him the highest-paid center in the NFL and keep him in Detroit for the next six seasons. It wasn’t until his Friday morning press conference that it truly hit the 24-year-old offensive lineman just what this moment meant. This wasn’t just an unfathomable amount of money. This wasn’t just a validation of his hard work over the past 10-15 years. This was Ragnow fulfilling a literal childhood dream of his.
Ragnow opened his press conference by listing a ton of people he viewed as responsible for where he was today. Coaches, agents, the Ford Family, Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia. But when he got to his family, he stopped.
“My mom and my dad,” Ragnow said before taking a long pause.
“Holy cow, my dad,” he continues with tears in his eyes. “I don’t think it’s ever really hit me until right now.”
Ragnow had an extremely close relationship with his father, who died of a heart attack in 2016.
“My dad was my best friend,” Ragnow said the day after he was drafted in 2018. “I’m sure every kid says that, but my dad—He got Google alerts. So, if you guys were writing an article right now about me, he would get that Google alert and he’d be the first text to get it. He was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, a great dad and my best friend. So, obviously this is tough and he’s meant the world to me.”
Without his dad to celebrate his latest accomplishment, Ragnow spent Thursday with his mother, his fiancee and his brother. It wasn’t a grand celebration. They made cookies, watched the Timberwolves play. “We’re just normal people,” as Ragnow put it, and they hadn’t fully processed what was happening.
But as he stood in front of that podium on Friday morning, he remembered one moment from the previous day, and it stopped Ragnow in his tracks again. He recalled that they had come across one of his school projects in which he was first learning cursive.
“I had wrote that my goal was to make it to the NFL and be able to take care of my parents,” Ragnow said through a strained voice. “My dad and my mom are just my people, you know, and I’m very grateful for them. My dad’s not here, but I’m very excited to take care of my mom, because I had an amazing childhood, man. I’m just so proud of the way I was raised and how I was raised and my upbringing. To be able to give back to my mom—I wish I could give back to my dad and go fishing with him and everything—but to be able to give back to my mom and my family, it means the world.”
I highly recommend watching Ragnow’s entire press conference. If you aren’t a huge fan of him yet, you will be.