Prized Football, Lost in 2011 Tornado, Returned to UA Offensive Tackle

  • April 19th, 2018
A football autographed by teammates that was lost during a violent tornado is being returned to Wesley Britt after almost seven years.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After almost seven years, a prized possession is being returned to its rightful owner. Wesley Britt, former University of Alabama offensive tackle, will receive a signed team football he lost in the April 27, 2011, tornado.

The exchange will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Bryant Museum.

Britt lived in Tuscaloosa in 2011. Like hundreds of others, Britt and his family were affected by the devastating EF4 tornado that ravaged much of the city.

“It went right over our house,” Britt said. “We lost basically everything other than ourselves.”

Among the items lost was one of Britt’s footballs from his time at The University of Alabama.

“Every year that I played, I had a football signed by the team,” Britt said. “I continued this all the way up through the New England Patriots.”

Over a year later, Britt attended the Paul W. Bryant Museum’s open house event. While touring the exhibit hall, Britt stopped to look at the newest exhibit, a display that memorialized the tornado with images and artifacts that were preserved.

That is when Britt noticed an autographed football that Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News sports editor, had found in his driveway. It had gone through the tornado and had lost some air but was relatively unharmed. As Britt read the names on the ball, he realized this was the football he lost in the tornado.

“I put together that it was my football that traveled 10 miles to Cecil’s house. It was such a surprise, and it meant so much that it was found and preserved,” Britt said. “Cecil was so gracious, immediately reaching out and telling me that he wanted me to have it back. The Bryant Museum offered for me to take it then or to leave it there for the remainder of the display.”

Britt allowed the Bryant Museum to keep the football for their display. The tornado memorial was recently taken down, and the Bryant Museum will be returning the football to Britt.

“I am so grateful to Cecil for identifying this and preserving it the way he did. It meant a lot to me that Cecil and the Bryant Museum staff were so gracious to me,” he said.

The Paul W. Bryant Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call toll free 1-866-772-BEAR (2327) or visit on the web at bryantmuseum.com.

Contact

Contact: Kevin Lake, Office of Strategic Communications, 205-348-4632, kevin.lake@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.