Vikings’ Chad Beebe got ‘never-give-up attitude’ from his father

After overcoming a lost fumble on a muffed punt to score the winning touchdown Sunday against Carolina, Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe talked about having a “never-give-up attitude.’’ He can thank his father for that.
Don Beebe was known for his perseverance as an NFL receiver from 1989-97, perhaps best exemplified in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XVII in January 1993.
With his Buffalo Bills on their way to being blown out 52-17 by the Dallas Cowboys, Beebe relentlessly pursued Leon Lett as the defensive lineman returned a fumble for what looked like a sure touchdown. But Lett celebrated before reaching the goal line, and Beebe knocked the ball out of his hands for a touchback.
Against the Panthers at U.S. Bank Stadium, Chad Beebe muffed a punt and lost a fumble with 2:10 left that could have cost Minnesota the game. Carolina recovered at the Vikings’ 9-yard line but was held to a field goal that kept the Vikings alive — and they won on Kirk Cousins’ 10-yard touchdown pass to Beebe with 46 seconds remaining.
“When I raised him, I said, ‘This is your life. Whatever you choose to do, I really don’t care,’ ” Don Beebe said in a phone interview. “All I said, as his dad, was, ‘Be the best you can be.’ He just happened to choose the same profession, and I said, ‘Never give up. Giving up is not an option, period, in our house.’ ”
It never has been for Chad Beebe. Undrafted out of Northern Illinois in 2018, he had to try out at a Vikings rookie minicamp before he was signed. He was waived before the season but signed to the practice squad before being called up midway through the year.
Injuries have disrupted his NFL career, including a hamstring problem that cost him five of the last six games in 2018 and ankle surgery that ended his 2019 season after three games. And after catching just seven passes in Minnesota’s first 10 games this year, he had a career-high seven catches for 63 yards against the Panthers, scored his first NFL touchdown, and overcame the fumble.
“Just watching the game, I think the last three minutes of the game encapsulated his life in sports,” said Beebe’s father, who played for the Panthers and Green Bay Packers in addition to the Bills and is now head coach at Division III Aurora (Ill.) University. “This kid’s been knocked down so many times and had so many setbacks, but yet he keeps picking himself off the matt and keeps fighting.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (12) catches a quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) pass for a touchdown in front of Carolina Panthers cornerback Corn Elder (29) in the fourth quarter of an NFL game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. The catch would cap a 75 yard drive with to tie the game with the extra point giving the Vikings a 28-27 victory over Carolina. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)
“To be honest with you, if I weren’t his dad, I would even say it was inspiring to watch him, and I know the inside story of what he has had to deal with, with injuries and setbacks in his life, and he just keeps persevering.”
Don Beebe watched the game with his wife Diana and youngest daughter Kaitlyn at the family home in Aurora. They were obviously down when Chad lost the fumble but elated when he scored the winning touchdown.
“I’m not a jumper up and down, but I probably gave a fist pump,” Don said. “My wife and daughter, they were going crazy. They were jumping up and down.”
When Chad was driving home from the stadium, he called his father as he does after every game.
“The first thing I told him was, ‘Remember the saying I used to tell you when you were growing up?’ ” Don said. “I used to tell him all the time that, ‘Hey, everybody makes mistakes, the great ones just make less of them.’ ”
Don Beebe was impressed with how his son didn’t get down after he called for a fair catch and mishandled the punt.
“I was so proud of how he did not wallow in self pity,” he said. “He did not focus on what just happened but he focused on the future of the next play. A very small percentage of people can get over something like that mentally, and I’m talking about even pros. But he’s an even-keeled guy who just did his job.”
After Sunday’s game, Chad Beebe talked about how he was able to overcome his miscue.
“At the end of the day, things aren’t always going to go the way you want it to, but in life you’re always going to have a chance to make up for it,” he said. “It’s a never-give-up attitude and just trusting in that.”
His dad knows plenty about that. When Don Beebe was with the Bills from 1989-94, they lost all four of the Super Bowls they played in, and he appeared in three. But he was on the winning side in Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers in January 1997.
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