HBCU Graduate and NFL Player talks about the NFL
Posted By: Jehan Bunch on December 11, 2006 |
HBCU Graduate and NFL Player talks about the unglorified life of the NFL
“My motto is stay modest, humble and hungry!”
These are words that Isaac Keys, Morehouse graduate and NFL player, lives by everyday.
Born and raised in St. Louis Missouri, Keys grew up in a family where sports were a constant part of his life. “I was always involved in sports; baseball, football, you name it.” Keys started playing
baseball at age five, but once he started playing football at age seven, he realized that football was his true calling. He excelled so much in it that he was placed on teams with kids two years older than
Keys started his college career at the University of North Alabama, but transferred to Morehouse College a year later. “Alabama was not a
good fit for me, and my Dad told me about Morehouse, so I decided to apply.” Even though he was apprehensive at first, because of the all
male gender at the school, he did not let that discourage him. “I was like, an all guy school! But I decided to make the best of it.” He credits Morehouse for instilling and building humility in him. “I sat out my first year and did not play, so I was able to focus on my classes and just be like everybody else.”
He graduated from Morehouse in 2001 and was drafted into another world; he signed on with the Minnesota Vikings and found out the hard way that college football is nothing like the NFL. The bond that he once shared with his Morehouse teammates was no longer present. “The whole concept of team loyalty is lost and everyone is out for themselves.” Keys said about the NFL. “The NFL is a business.
A business where you are in one day and out the next.” Keys endured more trials and tribulations as he struggled to find a team that was right for him. He ended up playing on several teams and became frustrated by it all. “I kind of felt a sense of hopelessness, but I refused to give up and I pushed myself even harder with each trial.”
His hard work and dedication paid off and he his now found a home with the Arizona Cardinals playing linebacker.
He is taking each day in stride and is staying on course as he uses football as a vessel to give back and educate.
“I want to give the unglorified look of the NFL. Everyone thinks you have it made; cars, clothes, and jewelry, but there is another side of it and I want to share that.”
Keys especially wants to educate the HBCU community on how the NFL perceives it.
“ Coming out of an HBCU, you are not looked as being the top, instead you are looked at as being undisciplined.” He is working on ways to destroy that myth by setting up his own foundation, “Keys to the Future Foundation”, which will help educate youngsters and parents on football and he wants to hold football camps that will help strengthen up skills. He is also doing public speaking, focusing on the NFL and his experience and how he has overcome many obstacles.
When asked what advice he would give to an HBCU athlete trying to make it to the NFL, Keys shared this. “Take it one game at a time, stay humble and know that you are a diamond in the rough.”
Keys is surely a diamond in the rough and is a living example of how one should never give up on their dreams!
To find out more about Isaac Keys, visit his website at: www.isaackeys.com
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