As an exception, none of our athletes on scholarship in the United States will enjoy a starring role in this week’s blog entry. Hopefully they do not get overly jealous but, you know, it’s Super Bowl week. On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots will square off to decide which franchise will take home the National Football League title. Hence, it is fitting to talk about football. Concretely, about two current NFL players who were not planning to pursue a professional career in the sport.
How was the beginning of Demetri Goodson career?
In August 2008, Demetri Goodson joined the Gonzaga University basketball team. Except for a miraculous last-second floater against Western Kentucky that kept the Zags alive in the NCAA Tournament, the Charleston-native point guard spent three lackluster seasons in Spokane.
Sportive evolution: He started career at Baylor University
In 2011, encouraged by his dad, Goodson decided to switch sports and use his remaining eligibility as part of the Baylor University football team. In Waco, after two injury-riddled years, he put together a magnificent redshirt senior campaign both as a cornerback and kick-returner. Merely a few months later, the Green Bay Packers selected him with the 197th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. A late round selection is no guarantee for a player to make the final roster. However, on the back of his advanced defensive prowess, partially acquired on the basketball court, Goodson has managed to fulfill his dream.
The unexplained way of Cairo Santos
Cairo Santos’ journey to the NFL is even more incredible. The Kansas City Chiefs placekicker was a simple exchange student from Brazil in St. Augustine (Florida). There, he was supposed to play high school soccer for a year before heading back to South America. Fate had other plans, though. As your average 15-year-old kid from Sao Paulo, Santos knew nothing about football upon his arrival in North Florida, but he excelled at kicking any ball no matter its shape.
On weekends, the Brazilian would help the St. Joseph Academy football squad with his precise kicks. During the week, he would learn the bulk of the rules of the sport playing Madden on his Xbox. Fast forward two years and Santos signed his National Letter of Intent to become Tulane University’s ace. After a stellar stint in New Orleans, the 25-year-old has turned into one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers.
Moral of the story: Dearly beloved athletes, never give up on your dreams even if the odds are stacked against you. Everything is possible with the right dose of hope, hard work and perseverance. Do not ever underestimate the magic of college sports.
By Pablo Mosquera