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On the left, T.J. Conrad holds baby Bentley before he deployed to Afghanistan. In the middle, Bentley is shown before his first football game with NLMS. At right, T.J. is shown as a football player back in Virginia.

To some players, playing a sport is just a time passer and time to spend with their friends, but to one North Laurel Middle Schooler, it’s a legacy.

Bentley Conrad is a sixth-grader at North Laurel, and is the son to the late T.J. Conrad, a soldier who lost his life defending our country in Afghanistan.

T.J. loved football, and was a football player and wrestler at his high school in Virginia. Bentley is living his legacy and has the same passion for the sport as his father.

Bentley’s mother Holly said, “About four months after me and T.J. got married, he said he wanted a child, because he knew he was going to get deployed and he didn’t want to miss the birth of his child. Bentley was born six weeks early so that was more time he got to be there for Bentley. T.J. was deployed when Bentley was five months old, and two months into his deployment he was killed in action.

“T.J. always said I can’t wait until Bentley gets older so we can pass the football and enjoy the game together,” Holly said. “Some of T.J.’s Army friends let Bentley join their fantasy football league last year.”

Bentley’s love for football, and day-to-day mannerisms reminds Holly of T.J.

“He does things, and says things that T.J said, and that gives me comfort knowing that he is just like his dad,” she said.

Bentley said, “When I started playing football a few years ago, my mom told me that my dad could not wait for me to get older, he hoped I loved football as much as he did. I wish he was here to watch me play, I think he would be excited to see that I love football as much as I do.”

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