Being a longshot is nothing new for Albany native Emanuel Byrd.
After not hearing his name called on draft weekend, Byrd is again taking the difficult route toward his NFL dreams.
Byrd will spend the next few weeks at rookie minicamps with the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers, hoping to earn a roster spot. The odds of the former Albany Indian making an NFL roster aren't good.
But Byrd's pretty used to that.
He was barely recruited despite being a four-year starting QB at Albany High. Determined to play college football, Byrd went the juco route and played two years at Georgia Military College.
From there, Byrd landed at Marshall, where he did a little bit of everything offensively for the Thundering Herd playing tight end and H-Back.
Now the odds are stacked against him once again as Byrd tries to push himself onto an NFL team. It won't be easy, but Byrd is staying focused on his goals.
"I really feel comfortable because I've been in this position so much," he laughs. "Everything I've been through has built a mental toughness and a want-to. As long as I keep my focus and my tunnel vision on what I want, I feel like I'll be able to get there."
Byrd says he expected this would the route he would have to take to make it to the NFL. Even without any draft expectations, the former Indian says watching player after player selected in last weekend's draft motivated him even more to chase his dream.
"Just seeing those guys, how happy they were, and knowing that I'm probably not getting picked gave me motivation to go back to work," he says. "I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. It was tough watching, but I just took it all in as a tool to keep going."
Byrd is headed to Kansas City at the end of this week. He'll try out with Pittsburgh after that.
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