"I'm like that"
Dallin Leavitt was too passionate about the game of football to ever think his NFL dreams would not come true.
The safety, who grew up in Portland, Oregon, had been around football his whole life, and found ways to prosper within the game. He credits his family for being the foundation in his life and football, and also the reason he never let himself give up on his dream of playing in the league.
"I always knew I wanted to play in the NFL ever since I was 5 years old," said Leavitt. "I told my dad I was meant to play this game and he said, 'You haven't even put on a helmet yet, you have no clue what you're talking about.' But football has always been my first love and everything I ever cared about. Everything I did was for football.
"Now looking back at it, it's almost irrational how much I thought I was capable of playing in the NFL with my height, weight, speed," continued Leavitt. " But I attest that my mom and dad, they've always pushed me and always been supportive. They were so over the top in, 'Whatever you want to, let's chase it,' and they gave me every opportunity to do it."
He would commit to BYU and play two seasons there, before transferring to Utah State where he had to fight an uphill battle after breaking his ankle. After coming back from the injury, Leavitt totaled 139 total tackles, seven interceptions and six pass deflections as an Aggie. Following graduation, the only NFL team that contacted him was the Raiders, for a tryout at rookie minicamp. However, he didn't make the cut.
"I went up to [Coach] Gruden, sat with him in the lunch room and just started crying and begged him to take a chance on me. 'Please, I'm going to lead the team in special teams tackles. I'm going to be the best special teams player you have and I'm going to be the smartest DB in the room.' At this point, I'm 23 years old, I'm a grown man sitting there crying to Coach Gruden. And he just said, 'Look I don't have a spot for you right now.'"