Story written by EPelle
Dwain Chambers has made an initial cut of NFL hopefuls, and has been invited to an additional two-day camp in Barcelona to be held 13-14 January.
I first reported to you on on 20-December that Chambers had gotten his act together, and was pursuing his dreams in the NFL (read: From Threads to Riches).
NFL Europe coaches were impressed with Chambers' raw speed and determination during his initial tryout in November, and would like to have a better look at him and other rookies in their camp - to be held over a Monday and Tuesday.
Scouts had known of Chambers' raw speed, but did not expect to see such blistering pace and use of it when he was put through a simple drill at the start of the one-week camp in November.
This bodes well for Chambers, as he would like to forge a name for himself in the NFL and gain confidence in a new sport. The odds are highly stacked against him, but he's giving it a go.
BBC accurately reported that Chambers will need far more than raw pace if he is to fulfil his initial ambition of becoming a wide receiver for one of the five NFL Europe teams, as catching skills, strength, determination, teamwork and tactical appreciation all count equally into the total package exhibited by the best NFL players.
Whether or not Chambers makes a successful journey to the NFL, he vows to return to the track.
"Part of my mind is saying, 'leave track alone' but it is not the wise thing to do. If it doesn’t work out in Tampa, I’ve time for track this summer," he is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail (2006-December-29).
"I plan to come back to track regardless. It’s something I still believe I have a passion for. At the moment, I don’t but I will in time."
Chambers has a great support system behind him, having his mother, Adlith and his partner, Leone backing him as he continues forward from a past filled with a commitment to excellence, but also a past which crossed over to a darker period he'd just as soon forget.
Of Leone, he states: "If I didn’t [listen to her], I’d get my ear chewed. And then I speak to Jonathan and he brings a whole different perspective to it. It’s tough because I am used to doing everything my way."
Chambers opens up candidly about his mother.
"She always said, 'be careful what you do', and then for her to have to go out still holding her head up when people made comments … that’s hard on her.
"She was fantastic. In her mind, as long as I am okay, she is okay. She always says what people write in the papers are just words. Mind, I only showed her positive stuff in papers. Mothers don’t understand negative stuff, do they?
"She’s strong and she has her church and that kept her uplifted a lot, and during that time I kept with her a lot which helped put her mind at ease, and now she gets to see my son a lot which takes her mind off the other things."
Being a team-player - one who does things the coach's way - is one characteristic NFL scouts will look for in Chambers and his rookie class next week. If he's successful there, his wait on hearing if he is one of 80 players selected for a camp in Florida in March will be duly rewarded.
If Chambers can make a successful leap between the two sports and become an NFL player, the only thing he'll have to do is explain to his mother why those big, helmeted men are running as fast as possible to knock Chambers off his feet.
Click here for a link to NFL Europe.
NB (2007-January-16): Video Q&A With BBC (link)