Miami Dolphins rookie Cedric Thompson attended the NFL Rookie Symposium this week, and in a well-written article, he shared his story of determination and his gratefulness to the Miami Dolphins for drafting him. In his own words he admits, "I don’t think the Dolphins would have drafted me if they hadn’t met me." Here is his first-person account.
To be honest, I don’t think the Dolphins would have drafted me if they hadn’t met me. My tape speaks for itself, but you have to really know me to understand what my mission is and what I want to accomplish in the NFL and in life. When they watched my film, they saw that I was a great tackler. But I put the cherry on top when they met me and found out how hard I will work to be a great player, on and off the field. And of course I know that there are a lot of things that I need to work on.
I’ve overcome a lot of challenges – from childhood to my teenage years to the man I’ve become now – by working with the cards that were dealt to me and by never looking back and regretting it. I always fought through it and knew that I had a purpose, a dream and a goal that I wanted to reach…and I was going to do whatever it took to get there. And that’s why I’m able to adapt to any environment or situation that I’m in because I’ll do whatever it takes to reach my goals.
I grew up seeing violence in my house. I watched my mom and dad get divorced. People around me were using drugs. I saw my friends and cousins get shot, get killed. Before I went to college, I thought that was the norm, that’s how the world was. And then I went to Minnesota for college, which was a complete culture shock. For the first time, I could walk down the street without looking behind my back.
Sometimes I think about how much I’ve been through…and I really can’t believe it. Today, at one of our NFL Rookie Symposium sessions, we had a speaker talk to us about drunk driving. I have a scar on my face because my dad was drunk driving and we got into a car accident. I kind of forgot about that, and I see the scar every single day! Growing up where I come from, you learn how to dump those emotions and forget about them. And that’s part of a lot of young males’ problems; we push our emotions to the side and try to be hard all the time. I’m really trying to find myself by looking at who I was as a child, a teenager and the man that I am becoming now…that will give me a strong foundation to find out who I really am.
I believe that the challenges I’ve faced are going to help me become the man I want to be. My biggest life goal was to graduate from high school. Nobody in my family ever did that, let alone go to college. During my recruiting process, I was happy when any schools were calling because I just wanted to go. And I was blessed to be able to go to a big Division 1 college and play football. Coming into the league…that was a dream come true.
Rookie Symposium is helping me a lot because I never had a strong mentor to look up to. And here, I am listening to many great mentors share their knowledge with us. Some of the things they are saying are so simple, but I’ve never heard it. I’m really listening and learning because these are messages that I can hold onto for the rest of my life. Aeneas Williams explained to us what a mentor is, basically describing it as someone you look up to who has succeeded at what you want to do. When he said that, I was like, wow, I’ve never really had that. I’ve always known what I wanted to do, but never had anybody to mentor me. After hearing him speak, I want to do exactly what he did, and I’m not afraid to say that. If someone can teach me how to do it, I can do it. If I can accomplish and overcome what I have without a mentor, I can only imagine what I can achieve with one.
I want the Dolphins organization, the fans and my teammates to know that I am going to do everything I can to help the team win games. And I will do everything I can for this team, for this family. I believe that relationships are something that will last a lifetime. I’ll always have the backs of those guys in the locker room, today and 20 years down the line. I’m a rookie, I’m observing and I have some great vets to learn from. And I’m going to work my butt off, on and off the field, no matter what. I’m going to give this team all that I have.
Written by Cedric Thompson. Follow him on Twitter @cedjunior2
(Edited by Eldon Jenson @EJFootball)
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