Fullback Alec Ingold hasn't had an easy journey throughout his life – let alone to the NFL.
The Raiders team captain's story took the spotlight in an NFL Films feature, discussing his adoptive parents, his experiences with adoption and how football became his safe haven from the world.
Ingold's parents, who adopted him at birth, referred to their son as "an amazing gift" and "something that we will treasure forever." His experience with adoption as well as his family's undying support have shaped him into the person and player he's become.
"I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my little sister and my parents and being so close to a family that loves you so much," said Ingold. "But as a kid, you ask that question, 'Why [was I] being put up for adoption?' I didn't know if I was too big of a liability for my birth parents. I didn't know if I was good enough."
"There were times I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as a 7-year-old because I needed to be perfect for not being good enough and being put up for adoption and having to go through that," continued Ingold. "And that's just such a deep part of who I am that I felt like I just needed to put up this front all the time. And then I'd get behind these walls in this house and at night, I'd just lose it."
Ingold described football as his "sanctuary" in helping find who he truly was outside of his family. He used football as an outlet on the way to becoming a star high school quarterback in the state of Wisconsin, parlaying a scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin where he switched positions to fullback. As a Badger, his athletic ability and grit shined at the position – with over 500 total scrimmage yards and 21 total touchdowns in his four years.
The fullback, not knowing if the NFL was in his future, accepted a job for Oracle selling computer software out of college. However, the Raiders invited him to tryouts and ultimately signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent. He's made an impact as the team's starting fullback since joining the organization.
As his star has risen on the field, he's also used his platform in the NFL to become a national spokesperson for AdoptUSKids, raising awareness for adoption and foster children.
The fullback was enjoying a career season in 2021 before he tore his ACL in the Raiders' Week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. While the injury put him on the shelf for the second half, Ingold is determined to come back even stronger for the start of the 2022 NFL season.
"You got to know that there's going to be bumps in the road," said Ingold. "I can break some ribs, I can tear an ACL, you can throw whatever you want at me – I'm going to come back stronger because I have a purpose of sharing my story and helping other people find their identity."