My dream of playing in the NFL came to me when I was in the fourth grade. This dream gave me vision and direction; I knew where I was headed. At that moment I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but I knew by taking it one day at a time and one step at a time, eventually I could transform my dream into my reality. I am happy to say as a starting Safety for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, that my dreamhas come to fruition.
Being from a small town has given me a unique perspective on life. Taking the long route to get to where I am today has taught me “humility with dignity and humbleness with pride.” Throughout my childhood I didn’t develop my work ethic in the gym or on the practice field, rather by working on my grandparents’ tobacco farm. That was where I acquired my intense work ethic and developed my sense of responsibility and integrity.
I’ve never been a stranger to hard work on the field; whether it be tobacco or the gridiron. That comes second nature to me -- to work hard to get what I want. If I’d given up I would’ve never made it to where I am today, but acting in front of an entire video crew for Mary J. Blige’s ‘Hood Love’ video was a unique challenge for which I wasn’t familiar. I didn’t know the rules of the game, and wasn’t given a playbook, nor could I rely on the refuge of being masked under my helmet. This was a venture outside of my norm, but it presented the chance for me to act alongside an iconic artist and create future opportunities for life after football.