So who is Darrius Heyward-Bey anyway? He could be your cousin, your brother, or your best friend. He's like any other person that has had goals and obstacles to overcome, like you or like me.
Similar to us all, he's also had people tell him no, you can't and you shouldn't.
However, one of the greatest things about this Raider is his personal belief in himself, despite coaches or popular opinion. His rise to the NFL reflects his rise from HS through college in many ways.
We've all heard the saying, blessings come as disguises sometimes. For Darrius, it was incredible physical speed.
It virtually allowed DHB to pick and choose which scholarship type he wanted to accept, as he was an All-American in both football and track at Mcdonoug HS in Pomfret, MD.
Admittedly, football was not his first love, and something he had to get used to as he explained in an interview with Kevin Van Valkenburg of the Sun Reporter
"Usually, I was just out there running for my life," Heyward-Bey said. "If I scored a touchdown, it was always out of fear of being tackled."
He had aspirations of becoming a professional track runner, but ultimately, from the urging of friends and family, chose football.
From the day he accepted a scholarship from the University of Maryland, he was labeled a marked man. He was met with skepticism from players and fans that he could not translate track success into college football success at a major athletic program.
With that motivation, he went to work.
He set new records at Maryland for receptions, 138, third in school history, yards receiving, 2,089, second best in school history, and was All Atlantic Coast Conference twice.
After finishing his junior season as one of the most heralded wideouts in the ACC, he again had to face criticism, this time from the NFL media and Mel Kiper Jr., who routinely picked him as a bust and bad selection over the likes of Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin.
There are many knocks when it comes to Heyward-Bey as a true receiver. From "he doesnt have good hands" to his confusion in running accurate routes. This gives the media and those who doubt him fuel for the fire, but also makes watching him all the more exciting and interesting.
Be as it may, Heyward-Bey knows he will have to work hard to prove himself, referring to dropped passes and becoming a true catcher in the NFL
"They tell me all the time, 'Forget about that one, move on to the next one,' " "I'm just trying to work through the kinks. That's football. It happens."
Being successful, following through with goals and achieving them, that's called hard work.
Its one of the many things Darius Heyward Bey brings to this new Raiders team, and one of the reasons why management will bank on him having a career similar to that at Maryland.
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