"Eventually that became a part of my identity," Brackett said of his dedication. "When I got a scholarship, I continued to do the same things. By the time I got to the NFL, it was the same story. Nothing had changed for me as far as my work ethic. I never took on a victim mentality, but saw everything as an opportunity to go out and prove myself."
His biggest challenge was at the beginning of his pro career. His parents and older brother all died within a 16-month span starting in 2003. Instead of lamenting his losses, though, Brackett considered himself blessed to have had these people in his life for as long as he did.
"Football was kind of my escape," he said of that time period. "When you're on the field, you don't have the luxury to think about day-to-day activities when you have 300-pounders coming after you."
Brackett, who lives in Zionsville, was released by the Colts last off-season. He hasn't officially retired yet, but is undecided on whether he'll try to play again. He's still nursing a shoulder injury that hasn't fully healed.
"Either way, I'm happy where I'm at now," said Brackett, who is a partner in a new restaurant opening this week in Carmel.
As for Super Bowl predictions, he'd like to see Baltimore make it to the big game, but remembers how tough the New England Patriots are on their home field. Ultimately, Brackett expects the San Francisco 49ers to hoist their first championship banner since 1995.
"Hopefully, San Fran can get them," he said.