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Coming out of college, no one really knew what to make of Adrian Colbert. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defensive back played 22 total games in four collegiate seasons with the University of Texas and Miami, and his lack of experience made him an enigma as far as most NFL talent evaluators were concerned. Getting drafted was no sure thing for Colbert, and in the end he had to wait until the 229th pick in 2017 before he would hear his name called by the San Francisco 49ers.

Colbert was initially penciled in to work with the cornerbacks as training camp opened, and it appeared he'd have his work cut out for him to even make the 53-man roster. His versatility proved to be a valuable commodity though, as the 49ers asked Colbert to switch positions when the injury bug hit the safety group. However, Colbert soon found himself out of action as he suffered an ankle ailment that would keep him sidelined until the final preseason game. Still, Colbert showed enough in his limited audition for the team to keep him around on special teams, although he was buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Jimmie Ward, Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt and Lorenzo Jerome.

As the season wore on, injuries and attrition started to play out the way they tend to do in the NFL, and Colbert found himself thrust into the starting free safety role by Week 10. The rookie hit the ground running and shined in six starts for the 49ers, recording 32 tackles, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. His showcase was so impressive, that San Francisco quickly committed to him as a starter for the 2018 campaign.

Colbert's emergence was surely surprising to most, but for those who knew him well, it shouldn't have come as a shock that he was able to overcome so much adversity. After all, what Colbert overcame to become a starter in the NFL is nothing compared to what he had to endure to even live a normal life after an accident almost took everything away from him as a child.

"Physically I was in the worst pain I'd ever felt. Stitches, staples all over my body and how I survived is beyond me," said Colbert in a Verizon campaign being held to honor and raise money for First Responders. "The day of the accident, I hopped on a bike. Me and one of my classmates decided to go race down a hill and the last thing I heard was a horn."

Colbert, who was nine-years old at the time, was struck by a car, hitting the windshield so hard that his classmate thought he was dead. As Colbert lay motionless, First Responders showed up in time to get him stabilized and to the hospital where he spent a week unconscious.

"When I did wake up, I couldn't believe that I was alive," Colbert recalled. "Initially, they had said they thought I had broken my neck. The doctor told me I wasn't gonna play (football) anymore. And when he said that it crushed me because I love football. I loved it, I've always loved it. I couldn't walk. I had to learn how to walk again."

Colbert goes on to share his heartfelt thanks for the men and women who saved his life that day, knowing that if they didn't arrive when they did, he might not be here to tell his story. As far as his career, Colbert will enter next season attempting to bounce back from various injuries that both impacted his performance and cut his 2018 short. Sure, it's a little adversity, but nothing for someone like Colbert, whose strength and determination are an inspiration to so many.

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Al Sacco is the Senior Writer for 49ers Webzone, contributor to The Niners Wire and has had his work used by national outlets such as ESPN and USA TODAY. In addition to his writing duties, Al is also the co-host of the No Huddle podcast. If you'd like to reach Al with a media request, please contact him via Twitter @AlSacco49 or at [email protected].