As an undrafted rookie in the National Football League, there’s plenty of juggling taking place off the field. Players have to manage their time efficiently while learning a new playbook, the name’s of veteran teammates and the coaching styles of a new staff. That happens all while rookies adjust to a new environment in a new city.
Apparently, defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie has taken the juggling term to the field, literally.
The 6-foot-5, 301-pound Texas A&M product could be spotted passing a soccer ball around with defensive line mates Will Tukuafu and Isaac Sopoaga prior to Thursday’s Organized Team Activity in Santa Clara.
It wasn’t so much seeing the players kick the ball around that was surprising, it was the juggling skills of Jerod-Eddie that was rather astonishing. The massive lineman had no problem flicking the soccer ball from foot to foot while defensive teammates looked on.
Come to find out, the second-team All-Big 12 performer in 2012 that started 38 games for the Aggies played soccer in his senior season at Dallas’ DeSoto High School. However, the soccer experience took place when Jerod-Eddie was 60 pounds lighter.
“I started out trying to play goalie, but it was a lot harder than I thought,” Jerod-Eddie recalled of his fútbol days. “I tried it and I was getting scored on a lot, so my coach moved me to forward.”
The American football standout enjoyed the experience of playing soccer and still watches soccer games to this day. Jerod-Eddie says Lionel Messi, the renowned Argentinean scorer, is his favorite player on the pitch.
But when it came to passing the ball around prior to the start of Thursday’s OTA session, Jerod-Eddie considered it to be “a pretty nice little warmup.” The soccer balls, for those wondering, are used in special teams drills for gunners to simulate downing the ball inside the 5-yard line. In this case, the defensive linemen decided to play pass after they had stretched for practice.
In addition to building camaraderie with his veteran position mates, Jerod-Eddie considers himself to be a sponge at this point of his career.
At every turn, the 22-year-old defensive tackle is observing the likes of Sopoaga, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.
“All those guys are great guys,” Jerod-Eddie said. “They all try to help me out. They want me to succeed. I learn a lot from those guys and my coach.
“You try to be a sponge and soak up as many good things as you can from those guys. That’s what I try to do every day.”
Tags: Isaaco Sopoaga, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Will Tukuafu
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