Michael Oher's NFL Dream Fulfilled

From the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio, to the modern-day gridiron heroes in their full HD glory, the story arch of urban youths clawing and working their way to become pro athletes is nothing new.

NFL player Michael Oher's story -- of finding a home and solace away from inner-city Memphis' aptly named Hurt Projects with a wealthy, white family, the Tuohys -- is shared by players such as Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin and Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck, who were also taken in by white families and spared from the pitfalls and violence of urban living.

VIDEO: Inside Michael Ohers Bachelor Pad
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But the similarities shared by players who rose from hardscrabble beginnings to on- and off-the-field glory do not take away from the long road each endured to make it.

For Oher, the dream of playing professional football was about all he had during the darkest times of his life, as he bounced, from home to home and school to school, teetering on the edge of gang recruitment and life in an urban abyss.

Watch "The Blind Side: The True Story Behind the Movie" on a special edition of "20/20" Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m. ET.

"The realist dream I ever had was getting, you know, drafted into the NFL," Oher, 23, said in an interview with "20/20." "Ever since I can remember, I always said to myself I want better than what I want right now. No matter where I was, the projects, the neighborhood, I said to myself, 'I'm going to get out.' Every day I woke up and said, 'I'm going to work hard, this day, to get to that next level.'"

Oher did get out, and his story of finding the Tuohy family and success in high school and college was turned into a hit book and Hollywood blockbuster movie, "The Blind Side."

The movie ends with Oher being drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens but his new life chapter is just beginning.

"That was a dream come true," Oher said of the moment he was drafted with the 23rd pick by the Ravens in the first round. "You know, to finally hear your name called, a long road and a lot of hard work, everything had finally paid off. Something I'll never forget."

Opponents Tease Oher, Call Him 'Movie Star'

An already well-known rookie for his collegiate success as a first-team, all-American selection during his senior year, Oher had the added pressure of Hollywood celebrity riding him into his rookie season. He said the extra attention he has received from "The Blind Side" has not been missed by opposing teams.

"I meet a lot of players out there on the other team, kind of joking around and stuff, calling, 'Movie star,' uh, when can I be in the movie?'" he said, chuckling.

Oher has managed to keep his head down and, as in his real-life upbringing, the 6-foot-4, 309-pound offensive tackle is a tale of two worlds on and off the field.

"Oher is this extremely polished, poised, polite young man who, once he crosses the white line on a football field and the game begins, becomes an aggressive, intense, physical force," said Gerry Sandusky, sports anchor for WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Ravens Have High Hopes for Rookie Tackle

Sandusky referred to Oher's blend of size and agility as an almost once-in-a-decade find for an NFL team. Not since Jonathan Ogden dominated at left tackle for the Ravens in an almost sure-fire Hall of Fame career has the team had such high hopes for a rookie player.

And, so far, drafting Oher has paid off. He has started every game for the Ravens this season, switching between right and left tackle.

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