Jeff Demps, an Olympian and current member of the New England Patriots, is a model example of hard work with a purpose in mind. Demps attended the University of Florida where he was a standout in two sports, football and track. In fact, he’s the only athlete in school history to win two national championships in separate sports.
As a running back, Demps was excellent, scoring 23 touchdowns and a career rushing average of seven-yards per carry. However, as a track star he was electric. At Florida he ran the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay, which won the SEC Championship in 2009. It was their first win since 2004.
This led Demps to try out for the U.S. Olympic track team preparing for the London 2012 Olympics. He put the NFL draft on hold to become a professional track star, and on July 25 he was added to the U.S. Olympic roster as a member of the 4x100m relay pool. He ran the first leg in the preliminary heat, finish in 37.38 seconds, beating a U.S. record that had stood for 20 years. Demps didn’t run in the medal round, but as a member of the team will won a silver medal for all his efforts.
Enter Bill Belichick, head coach of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, with $210,000 guaranteed cash in his hand and a roster spot in the other. A professional track career was put on hold.
Belichick is nothing if not perceptive. He showed little concern about the fact that Demps hadn’t touched a football since the Gator Bowl in January, more interested in the kid who had just ran a 9.96 100 and a 6.52 60. After all, the NFL is all about speed, and the first guy to the end zone wins a prize.
It’s a dream come true for the athlete who represented his country with pride and excellence. “Once I talked to the Patriots, I got the feeling that’s where I wanted to be,” Demps said. “The guys there acted like I was already part of the team.”
The reason he may have had those feelings is because Belichick and his five Super Bowl rings have five former Florida Gators on his roster, including Brandon Spikes who played a big role in convincing Demps to choose New England over Tampa Bay, who was vigorously pursuing him.
The Patriots see him as a potential kick and punt returner, for now, who has all the makings of a football player capable of electrifying entire stadiums. Given his 5’7″ 183-pound frame, he could be very hard to bring down if he can shift out of first gear and turn on the afterburners.
Jeff Demps, you serve as inspiration to a nation of kids who could learn a thing or two by turning off the smartphones and turning on their full human potential.
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