Darrel Tate spent the 2014 season playing for the Indjija Indians of Serbia, and wanted to pursue every football players dream of stepping on the field as a part of an NFL team. He definitely took a different approach!
How did you come up with the idea?
My choice to sneak into the facility was actually spontaneous at first. I didn't plan on it at all. I just happened to be in the area while doing a side job I have as a personal driver with Uber. It was my first day doing the job, so I was already dressed up nicely, and looked like I had actually belonged in a professional environment. After seeing how fairly easy it was to sneak in, I decided to come back another day and scout the place to see how to get in. It was as if I was literally on a "top secret" mission to sneak into their facility!
How did you enter and reach the coach?
I got into the facility by casually waiting on a player to pull into the "players gate" which required a code. I had noticed before that the gate remained opened long enough for me to get in, so that's what I did. When I walked into the facility, it was only a matter of finding the coaches offices. I didn't worry about someone being thrown off by my appearance because I actually looked like someone who belonged in the facility. Every player, coach, or team staff that I saw gave me the normal nod of the head and friendly smile.
I eventually found the coaches offices and quickly looked for the office of Tim Spencer, the running backs coach. I walked in and greeted him as if I had already knew him. He actually had a look on his face like "Oh man, I don't even know one of my own players!"
How did the conversation go?
I quickly got to the point and let him know of the process it took for me to make it to being in front of him to create an opportunity for myself. Luckily, he was willing to sit down and actually have a long conversation with me about what he thinks the teams needs are in terms of becoming a football team. He also took an interest in my background, previous playing experience, and most importantly my skill set.
Asking questions like: "Can you block?!?" "Are you considered a tailback or cross between tailback and fullback?" With him asking questions like this, I'm thinking "Wow! He's actually interested in me!" He then took down all of my info and provided me with information on who to contact in order to set up a possible tryout. He did say that it still may be a long shot, but at least I made it this far.
Do you feel you left an impression, what do you think is next?
I wasn't sure if I had left an impression. My only clue as to if I did leave one is when the Head of Security rushed out to greet me upon leaving the facility. He was somewhat amazed and interested as to how I made it in. He also told me who to get in touch with, and after seeing that it was the same person Coach Spencer had referred me too, I know it was a good sign.
What would you advise other players - should they pursue their dreams just like you did?
To anyone in pursuit of a dream, if they truly want that dream to happen they should do anything necessary to make it happen. I have literally done every possible thing in my own power to create an opportunity for myself getting onto an NFL roster. Once you do everything possible to reach your goals, it only a matter of time before something big happens. So right now, I'm remaining patient and working hard every day to fulfill my goal of being in the NFL.