Nov. 11, 2005
By Craig Chval
Luther Bradley was an All-American defensive back at Notre Dame, a four-year starter and member of two national championship teams.
Thirty years later, Bradley has lost a little speed and a little quickness. However, he hasn’t lost any of the bravado that all the great defensive backs need to have.
An enthusiastic fan of Irish head coach Charlie Weis’s high-powered offense, Bradley laughs when asked what it would be like to play against Weis’ attack.
“He always finds the weakness in a defense,” Bradley notes. “They wouldn’t be going after me.”
Opposing defenses learned early not to go after Bradley. As a freshman, Bradley delivered a ferocious hit on USC’s All-American wide receiver Lynn Swann.
On the Trojans’ first offensive play, Pat Haden’s pass to Swann and Bradley arrived simultaneously. Swann went flying, the ball went one way and Swann’s helmet went another way. This play set the stage for Notre Dame’s 23-14 victory, en route to the 1973 national championship.
A first-round pick in the 1978 NFL draft, Bradley played for the Detroit Lions for five seasons and has made Detroit his home ever since. Bradley and his wife, Sylvia, have four children – Rashida is a math teacher in New York City; Lutasha is a marketing representative in Los Angeles, Samuel is a senior at North Carolina A&T; and Daniel is a sophomore at Stanford University.
The diverse locations of their children give Luther and Sylvia plenty of chances to satisfy their travel bug when their busy schedules permit. Bradley is a long-time sales consultant with Blue Cross/Blue Shield while also serving as a trustee at their church and as chairman on the board of directors for the local chapter of Youth for Christ.
“We focus on disadvantaged children in the inner city,” Bradley explains. “We’re always trying to expose Christ and the Bible to people.”
Bradley manages to find time to follow Notre Dame’s football fortunes. As a member of the ’77 team that donned green jerseys and thumped USC 49-19, Bradley gave a thumbs-up to the green jerseys worn by Notre Dame against USC this fall.
“I was excited for them,” he says. “The green jerseys are one of the treasures of Notre Dame.”
Bradley is impressed with more than Weis’ choice of uniform color.
“This guy is going to win a national championship,” says Bradley. “He has got the goods.”