Archives for Uncategorized

TONY FISHER

My advice to young student-athletes, “At the end of the day, sports don’t last forever and the odds are low. It’s important to have a backup plan and to work hard at your craft.

No matter what your goals are don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be great.” Read here.

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H. B. BLADES

At first it seemed like a difficult reality to accept, but what made it easier was that it was realistic to not play football forever. He was happy to be able to go through this at a young age because it allowed him to plan accordingly for what he would do with life after football. Overall, he wouldn’t do anything differently because he enjoyed his time with the Redskins.  “I was able to learn a lot about life, myself, and other people and their backgrounds. Football is a really diverse sport and I love it.” Full story here.
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SHAUN LANE

Shaun Lane was a student-athlete who played football at The Ohio State University. He wanted to be known for accomplishing his dream of playing in the NFL, but he is more widely known for an injury that changed his life forever. Full article!

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DEJUAN GROCE

Click Here DeJuan Groce is a former All-American Cornerback. He calls Garfield Heights, Ohio his hometown. His dad was in the Army, so he also lived in Germany as a child and did not know anything about football until the age of 7. At that time, DeJuan started playing football for fun, and people told him he was a great player. This inspired him to try out for a little league team when he was 13 years old, which was the start of his career in football.
When asked if it was his dream to one day make it big in the NFL, he stated, “originally, no.” He explained that when he was first learning the game of football, it was Desmond - his cousin - who had a dream to play in the NFL. However, his cousin’s dream turned into his own dream when he was in the 7th grade. As DeJuan started to get serious about football, his dad sat him down and asked him what were his goals. He had four:
  • get good grades in high school,
  • receive a football scholarship to a university,
  • earn a degree with computers, and
  • play in the NFL.
“I wrote down these four goals and put them on my wall to look at every day.” It worked. DeJuan has completed all of his goals - with a slight modification. Instead of earning a degree with computers, he earned it in Communications. Full Article
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JUSTIN KING

During that preseason game, I ruptured my big toe, which resulted in a season-ending surgery. That small injury forced me to take a step back and reevaluate my career options outside of the NFL. The fact that something so simple could possibly end my career was frightening, and acted as a wake-up call. Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA High School: Gateway High School Highlight: Consensus 1st team All-American (USA Today, Gatorade, Parade, US Army). Ranked #1 CB in the country Sport: Football and Track College: Pennsylvania State University Highlight: 2 Time All Big 10 selection. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL draft. Moment of Truth: During my rookie training camp for the NFL, I knew that my lifelong dream of playing at the professional level was close to becoming a reality. I realized at the training camp that I had the talent to not only compete, but to also be successful in the NFL. I went from being the 7th cornerback on my team to being named the starting cornerback by the first preseason game. During that preseason game, I ruptured my big toe, which resulted in a season-ending surgery. That small injury forced me to take a step back and reevaluate my career options outside of the NFL. The fact that something so simple could possibly end my career was frightening, and acted as a wake-up call. After returning from that injury, I suffered other small injuries over the course of my 5-year career, which eventually led to me retiring from the NFL. I’m currently in the transitioning period of my career and even with my athletic accomplishments and financial savings; it is still evident that having a detailed plan B after a sports career is essential. I AM ORANGE ARROW
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MILTON CAMPBELL

  Despite all of my athletic accomplishments, I lost more than I won. There were a lot of times that I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. The greatest lesson I learned is how to persevere and this lesson really prepared me for life after track. Overnight stories are rarely true because there’s a lot more that people don’t hear. We may see a highlight film but it doesn't show the little moments that define a person’s career. Those were my many moments of truth.   MOT: Milton Campbell Hometown: Atlanta, GA High School: Frederick Douglass High School, Atlanta GA Highlight: Setting a state record and becoming the state champion in the 400m Sport(s): Track and Field College: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Sport(s): Track and Field Highlight: Full-time athletic scholarship, 2 time NCAA champion, set an American collegiate record in the 200m, 13 time All-American, and set ACC records.   Moment of Truth: Despite all of my athletic accomplishments, I lost more than I won. There were a lot of times that I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. The greatest lesson I learned is how to persevere and this lesson really prepared me for life after track. Overnight stories are rarely true because there’s a lot more that people don’t hear. We may see a highlight film but it doesn't show the little moments that define a person’s career. Those were my many moments of truth.   I AM ORANGE ARROW
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TORRIE COX

My moment of truth happened in 2010 when I was injured towards the 2009 season with a hip fracture that required surgery. I was trying to come back in 2010 but there was a lock out and I was recovering from my fourth surgery. Prior to my hip surgery, I had three ACL surgeries on my left knee. It was a struggle returning to high level competition and at the age of 31 playing against younger athletes became more challenging considering the wear and tear of my body. I played all 7 years of my NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After realizing the NFL wasn’t going to happen for the upcoming season, I tried out for the Canadian Football League. Being in Canada for a few weeks working out, I realized that my body wasn’t feeling the same and the injuries started to take a toll on me. It is not easy to just give up something you love, so I wasn’t listening to my body. My mind was telling me I can, but my body was telling me otherwise and that was when I realized my career was coming to the end. I AM ORANGE ARROW Hometown: Miami, Florida High School: Miami North Western Senior High Highlight: Star Running back, led Dade County in rushing, won state championship in 1998-99. Dade vs. Brown All-Star Game Sport(s): Football College: University of Pittsburgh Sport(s): Football Highlight: Special teams captain 2000-2002, First team All-Big East, NFL draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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ADAM GUNN

The moment that changed my life forever happened in one play. I collided with my teammate and best friend, Scott McKillop, on a tackle resulting in me breaking my neck. The result of the collision forced me to make a decision on how I would live my life moving forward. I chose to never make an excuse and to overcome any obstacle that presents itself. I was told that I would never play football again, I didn't let that stop me. I received surgery fixing my fractured neck, returned the following season and played the best football of my life. In the end, a professional football career did not work out but I chose to allow my experiences as a football player and overcoming adversity to help me excel in my professional career. I am a living example that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.   I AM ORANGE ARROW Hometown: Vandergrift, PA High School: Kiski Area Highlight: All-State (Football), Fantastic 22, Fabulous 25, Westmoreland County 4x100 champ Sport(s): Football, Basketball and Track College: Pitt Sport(s): Football Highlight: 1st team Big East Linebacker, Blue Gold Award Winner, Demale Stanley Award, Iron Man Award, Captain, Meineke Car Care Bowl Leadership Award, Big East All-Academic Team  
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KEVION LATHAM

I was an extremely talented defensive end coming out of North Carolina.  Being ranked #7 overall in the state of North Carolina, I felt that I had a responsibility to my state and my family to exceed any and all expectations that were going to be placed before me at Penn State.  That being said I never reached my true potential while lettering 3 years for the Nittany Lions.  The concept of “next in line” had always been something I had heard all throughout my sports career, but I had never been the victim of it because I was always the star performer in any sport I participated in.  A conversation I remember candidly with my defensive line coach Larry Johnson, suggested that nothing was going to be given to me.  If I couldn’t be trusted and consistent on the practice field Monday through Thursday, I wasn’t going to increase my snaps on Saturday.   Still not taking advantage of the opportunities and being consistent on the practice field, my redshirt junior year I was still the 3rd defensive end on the roster.  I had to take a hard look at myself in the mirror and realize that there was a slim to none chance that I was going to have the opportunity to play in the NFL.  That being said, I graduated with a degree in Finance (3.56 GPA) in 3 ½ years from the Smeal College of business and got an offer from PNC Bank to work in their corporate offices in Pittsburgh during one of the worst recessions in history. This was my moment of truth. I Am Orange Arrow   Hometown: Greensboro, NC High School: Walter Hines Page High School Highlight: North Carolina vs. South Carolina Shrine Bowl, 31 Full Athletic scholarship offers Sport(s): Football, Basketball College: The Pennsylvania State University Sport(s): Football Highlight: Academic All American 2010, Academic All-Big Ten 2009, 2010
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BRYAN ANDERSON

My moment of truth came after I was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  I had injured my hip, which required surgery to fix.  While I was going through physical therapy I called my agent and asked him if there was a chance a team would pick me up for the upcoming season.  His reply was my moment of truth.  My agent asked me “Would you buy a car that has a broken axel?”  To which I replied “No”, and he said well neither will an NFL team.  I asked him if he knew of anybody who was hiring and his reply was “Look, I’m not an employment agency… best of luck to you” and he hung up.  I realized then that my dream of playing in the NFL was over; I needed to finish my degree and find a job that would allow me to provide for my wife and me. I AM ORANGE ARROW   Hometown: Philadelphia, PA High School: John Bartram High School Highlight: Big 33, Full Football Athletic Scholarship, 1st Team All Public League, 1st Team All City, 1st Team All Pennsylvania Sport(s): Football & Baseball College: University of Pittsburgh Sport(s): Football Highlight: Freshman All-American, All Big East, All ECAC, Drafted by Chicago Bears  
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TYLER PALKO

There have been multiple “moments of truth” throughout every phase of my life, but there is one in particular that stands out above the rest. When I was younger, I was playing a pickup hockey game with my buddies and there happened to be a boy named Chris who was about 7 years younger than me who wanted to play. I could tell that Chris was “different” than the rest of us. Later I found out he had been born with Down Syndrome. Because of my upbringing, I was raised by two great parents who gave me a strong foundation and set of morals. I allowed him to play with the group and included him in the game. Unfortunately, what happened next would shape me for the rest of my life. Another kid who was playing with us began to bully Chris and make fun of him. I knew this wasn't right so I decided to take things into my own hands and handled the situation to make sure that this wouldn't ever happen again. From that point, Chris and I have developed a friendship that transcended the normal boundaries. I decided if and when I ever had a platform to help Chris I was going to take advantage of the opportunity. This very situation inspired me to start my foundation called the TC House which will build an assisted living home for kids with down-syndrome. The moment and lesson here is that life is more than the tangible things in your possession; it’s more important than accolades or awards. It is about the relationships you form, doing the right thing, and about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. Chris has taught and given me more than I could ever have done for him. ---Do the right thing. I AM ORANGE ARROW Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA High School: West Allegheny SHS Highlight: State Champion, 3- Time WPIAL Champion, US Army All American, USA Today All American, Elite 11 QB Sport(s): Football, Basketball, Baseball and Track College: University of Pittsburgh Sport(s): Football Highlight: Winning Big East for the 1st time in school history, Big East champ 2004, Fiesta Bowl, All Big East Selection
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TYRONE GILLIARD SR.

My moment of truth occurred at the beginning of the 2005 NFL season when my name was not listed on the roster as playing. Hometown: Princeton, WV High School: Princeton Sr. High Highlight: Scoring six touchdowns in a single game Sport(s): Football, Basketball and Track College: University of Pittsburgh Sport(s): Football Highlight: Playing in the 2005 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Moment of truth: My moment of truth occurred at the beginning of the 2005 NFL season when my name was not listed on the roster as playing. I was a starter at the University of Pittsburgh for three years and have been credited my entire adolescent life for being a star football player. So in my mind the chances of playing in the NFL were very likely. However, when I realized I was not going to play in the NFL I did not know what to do. Should I play in the Arena Football League or attempt to go Semi-Pro or just give up on a football career altogether and move on? I had a difficult time dealing with my reality of not playing football, but I realized that now that my athletic career was over I had to focus on pursuing another career. As an established professional who created a career independent from football, I often look back on my football years and appreciate my days as a student-athlete in college. I share my life experiences to help educate young men who have the same dreams as playing in the NFL as I once had, in order to help better prepare them for the hurdles they may encounter along the way. I AM ORANGE ARROW
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