Back in April, the Los Angeles Chargers held a tryout for a linebacker that went largely unnoticed. That player, Jerimiah Spicer, is still waiting for that life-changing call from the team.
Spicer is a talented prospect, but it’s not the story of his playing career that will make you a fan of this kid, it’s the story of what he has overcome.
Spicer was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Moreno Valley, but he had to do so on the streets during his teenage years. His mother was attacked in a stabbing incident while pregnant with his sister, a girl named Miracle because of the fact that she survived. His mother survived the attack after a heart and lung transplant but would later pass away due to a drug problem. His father wasn’t in the picture and he was homeless, living on Skid Row.
Many kids are forced to grow up too fast due to certain difficult circumstances, but this was a harsh beginning for any young man.
Talented athletically, Spicer turned to football not only as a way to get out of that situation but also as a way to give back, particularly to the youth around him.
He played at Riverside City College and Bethesda University, looking for a way to hopefully launch a professional career. His next stop was as a member of the American Arena League, playing for the Cape Fear Heroes. There, he led the entire league with 147 tackles and was named to the All-Arena First Team.
That helped convince the Chargers to take a look at him and back in April, he received a tryout. The Cleveland Browns have also shown an interest and there is hope that if he can’t latch on with an NFL team, a team in the soon-to-be-back XFL just might.
But Spicer would love nothing more than to get a call from the Chargers. He grew up in L.A. and though it wasn’t under the best circumstances, it would give him a chance to represent his hometown team and forever be able to tell a story of the ultimate redemption.
So what needs to happen for Spicer to get to the next level?
In the case of the Chargers, a team with no less than 12 linebackers on the roster already, it would take an injury or a situation in which someone is underperforming once training camp begins and the team recalls the ability of the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Spicer as a better fit.
Linebacker was a position the Chargers targeted this offseason and plenty of focus has been placed on completely retooling that unit. Spicer was able to get his foot in the door, but now he needs the ball to bounce his way again in order to get a chance in camp.
When you see him on the field, he is an aggressive player who packs a punch as a tackler and also displays the ability to drop back into coverage. Have a look:
Of course, if you like to root for the underdog or if an emotional, real-life story appeals to you, you’re going to root for this kid. But the Chargers shouldn’t just give him a shot because it would be great for their public relations, but because Spicer can ball. He’s hungry and he wants an opportunity to show what he can bring to a team.
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When I spoke with him, he had this to say in regards to getting a chance to play for the Chargers.
“I have great instincts and a nose for the ball. I’m a versatile linebacker that can play D-line or even fullback. I never give up, I can survive through adversity. I can figure out a play before the ball is hiked. I’m great in the locker room, my energy is contagious and can help win games or turn around a game at any time”.
He then reiterated that he would be willing to play any position the team wanted him to line up at.
Spicer just wants the chance. The Chargers have 90 spots available on the roster right now. Of course, if that call never comes, Spicer will continue to pursue his dream because he’s not going to give up. His determination, perseverance and strong character won’t accept failure.
Spicer will be a professional football player somewhere, someday. But wouldn’t it be great if that somewhere included him throwing on a powder blue jersey?