Born in 1994, having much success through 2012 in high school, life was not as easy as it seemed. I grew up in a very competitive and large household. I was fortunate to have a father who played professional football for 8 years and a mother who set an enormous amount of track and field records in college. It was almost destined for my brothers and I to be great, right? That was wrong. I can recall not having the normal childhood growing up. In third grade, I told my parents my dream career was to play professional basketball and football. Not knowing how difficult playing both at the highest level could be, I made my mind up that day that I would work to give myself the best shot to achieve my dream.
My parents pushed me probably more than I wanted to be pushed at the time, but looking back on things any other way would not have been sufficient enough. There were countless of beach trips, Memorial Day weekend cookouts, and sleepovers I missed out on because I was molding my craft. I, nor did my friends, understand what my parents were trying to achieve then. I would wake up and literally run through the neighborhood, later I would go do cardio and speed work, and I would finish with skill work. Both sports were equally trained for. Well that was until I was in high school and added track and field to my already hectic schedule.
However, through all the chaos I was taught the meaning of hard work and dedication. I was taught to always be resilient. If I started something, I must make it a priority to finish it. I would let my game speak for itself and not my mouth. I would respect all the athletes before that played any sport. I would never cheat myself, because it was only hurting me in the long run. There were many of times I was out dribbling a ball with my left hand while my right hand was tied behind my back at 10 p.m. I would do push-ups and dips until I could no longer hold up my body weight. I walked around my house holding a football emphasizing the importance of ball security. Yes, the good ol’ days!
I think it is important to understand what it takes to achieve a goal. It is more than just saying, you want to do something. It is actually putting thoughts into fruition and making sacrifices. It is about not doing what all your other friends are doing as a child, because you had a different vision. Honestly, it was about making my sports my life. Now being in the N.F.L it is easy for me to take the credit for all the hard work put in growing up, but I honestly would not be here if it was not for my family and support system. I am truly grateful; I was aided in aiming high at an early age.
In closing, being a professional athlete is wonderful but, no easy task whatsoever; however if the work is put in early enough anyone could reach this dream!