#016: Comeback SZN
The text that kicked off the comeback.
This was from my high school freshman baseball coach. Coach Alex. He has supported me throughout the years & came through when I needed it most. I was in the darkest time in my life, but this text was all I needed to shift my perspective. It made me realize that we are always in control of our destiny. We can always choose to see the good in things & be positive in any situation. There is always an opportunity within the obstacle.
It's crazy to look back & think about what would have happened if I never got hurt. I definitely would not be where I am at right now. That injury made me who I am today & has led me to the most incredible moments in my life.
This injury brought me new tribe members & brothers that I have created bonds with that will last a lifetime.
This injury reignited that hunger to be great. It made me fall in love with the process again & not chase the result. I loved every moment & stopped taking the little things like practice for granted, because you never know when your last play will be.
This injury led me to the most beautiful human I’ve ever laid eyes on at a Reno Aces game. Without that extra year who knows what would have happened. Thank god she came into my life, because I don’t know where I would be without her endless support & love. She’s been my rock through the storms & it’s been amazing to grow with her through this amazing journey we call life. I love you Min Dawg.
This injury showed me that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for. WE ALL ARE. You never know what you can do until you’re forced to do it. You have to dig yourself out of things you thought were impossible.
SO… I made a comeback. I had a great Junior season. Here’s a couple stats in case Bill Belichick or any scouts are reading this...
It’s not all sunny skies. You battle adversity all season long from emotions, anxieties, pressures, injuries, fears, doubts.
But all you can do is keep DOING. Keep showing up & giving your best that day. Whatever you have in the tank, empty it.
I ended my junior year in the hospital with four broken ribs & a punctured lung. I took a pretty nasty hit in the bowl game on a slant route. I tried to go back out and took another huge shot on a bubble route that the CB jumped. That one took me out for good lol.
I recovered from the broken ribs & started to gear up for my senior season.
At this point in my career, I’ve never felt closer to my dream of playing in the NFL. Coming off a decent junior season, I just wanted to have a great year, lead my team, & get a shot to compete at the next level.
Senior year was rough to say the least.
ADVERSITY hit every damn day it seemed like. We just weren’t gelling as a team, I couldn’t get on the same page with my QB, I was getting benched all the time, & there was a huge lack of communication between players & coaches.
I have had resentment towards a lot of people because of how my football career ended. I take a lot of responsibility for how my senior year ended, don't get me wrong. I just felt like no matter what it was going to be an uphill battle. Like the homie Cris Suave always says, “We always have to take the stairs.”
Here’s a great example of being on mountain tops to a hard fall into the lows of the valley.
I was coming off a great year, picked to represent my team at Mountain West Media Day, chosen team captain, veteran in the WR room, ranked high as a WR heading into the season, to having a shit season, being benched multiple games, & ending my career with a grade 5 shoulder separation & torn deltoid in front of my entire family.
In the blink of an eye everything changes.
It’s funny how people only really care about you when you can provide a service for them. I went from captain to shit in less than 5 mins. Once it was announced that I couldn’t continue that season I barely heard from anyone, especially my coaches. I had a couple that always have checked up on me, but most don’t care about you in this industry. It’s a business, which I completely understand. It just sucks when you give everything, including your body for your team, coaches, & school, but that can barely reach out & let your medical bills that they are supposed to pay for fall to collections… lol yeah… awesome right?! Thanks for all your contribution Kaleb, here’s a good luck text & fucked up credit to send you into the real world. Thanks guys!
I had my tribe members come by and check on me while my time was ending at Nevada. Most nights it was just Mini & I in the living room. She took amazing care of me & again was my rock when I needed her most.
Sitting in that reclining chair thinking about what I am going to do with the rest of my life. Do I hang my cleats up? Do I keep trying?
I've had 3 major injuries in 3 years now. I’m fresh off a surgery & have no idea which direction my life or football career is going.
I got back in touch with a coach I played against. I honestly forget how we first met, but we started talking about the off season. I would spend my off-seasons back home in Orange County, CA where all the big name college & pro athletes would train. I would run routes with NFL WR’s & catch balls for NFL QB’s, it was an awesome experience.
So now it was my real off-season to train and prepare to hopefully get a shot at the NFL.
I reconnected with Devin Quinn. Who later in life alongside Matt Koman changed my life.
He pretty much told me Matt Koman would be heading our training, Les Spellman would be doing our speed training, & I’d get to train and be around top draft picks & NFL guys all off-season.
I told my partner in crime that we were heading to CA for the off-season. She buckled up & we went home.
Next Stop: TOGETHERSHIP