Life isn’t easy for dual-threat quarterbacks in today’s National Football League. American football quarterbacks are constantly dodging defenders and press alike. Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has it harder than most. His career has been marred by knee injuries, and things aren’t getting any easier now that he’s been turned into a teddy bear.
Bridgewater’s girlfriend turned Teddy the quarterback into a teddy bear and that teddy bear into a children’s book. Who is Teddy Bridgewater’s girlfriend, Erika Cardona, and how did she become inspired by the football player?
Who is Teddy Bridgewater’s Girlfriend Erika Cardona?
Erika Cardona is a Miami, Florida, native who fostered a love for the language arts from a young age.
She earned a degree in early childhood education and has been teaching children in one capacity or another ever since. She’s also notably a published fiction author. Her first books are a series of children’s stories called “Little Bear Teddy: Big Dreams Come True.”
Cardona has kept a low profile and remained unseen by the public eye. Her first book was published in 2017, with its follow-up dropping three years later in 2020.
In an interview with Carolina Blitz, Cardona says she came up with the idea for “Little Bear Teddy” in 2016, after “the real Teddy had his unfortunate injury.” She’s referring to an injury her boyfriend Teddy Bridgewater suffered in preseason 2016 that resulted in a torn ACL, dislocation of the knee joint and other structural damages.
She wrote the first draft of the children’s book while she waited with Teddy in the hospital. The second book in the “Little Bear Teddy” series, “Big Change,” was inspired by changes in Bridgewater’s career and an unexpected thyroid biopsy in Cardona’s own life.
“I had to remember that Teddy never once complained about his situation or never questioned God,” she told Fox 8 Live. “So I had to use him as my motivational piece so that I could get through my health scare as well. And I know that children around the world will use his story in the same light look up to him.”
Even though Erika Cardona is just Teddy Bridgewater’s girlfriend and not his wife, she has stuck with Teddy through thick and thin. Their story goes back to their childhood when they were growing up in Miami.
How Did They Meet?
Teddy Bridgewater and Erika Cardona met during their freshman years attending Miami Northwestern High School.
The couple remained tight-lipped beyond this point in their interview with Carolina Blitz. Cardona says a third book in the “Little Bear Teddy” series is on the way. Let’s hope that doesn’t mean more offseason setbacks for Bridgewater.
Teddy Bridgewater Football Career
Theodore Edmond Bridgewater Jr. was born in Miami to Teddy Bridgewater Sr. and Rose Murphy. A year after meeting Erika Cardona, Bridgewater took over the starting quarterback position from former teammate Jacory Harris.
Bridgewater was a highly-recruited dual-threat quarterback and nearly followed Harris to the Hurricanes. Bridgewater surprised many when he chose Charlie Strong and the University of Louisville Cardinals instead.
Bridgewater had an outstanding three-year career in Louisville.
He took over the starting position early into his freshman season and never let go. By the time he entered the NFL Draft, Bridgewater had been named Big East Rookie of the Year, Big East Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-Big East, and second-team All-AAC.
ESPN pundits saw giant potential for the touchdown-happy, interception-averse quarterback. Bridgewater’s final college football game was against his hometown Hurricanes, another game in which Bridgewater earned MVP honors.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Bridgewater 32nd overall in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Bridgewater has played for four teams during his career and has suffered several injuries along the way.
Bridgewater suited up for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints (to back up Drew Brees) and Carolina Panthers before settling in as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos over Drew Lock.
Little Bear Teddy books and merchandise are available at littlebearteddy.com.