This is a slightly shorter version of a full interview conducted with Eddie Pleasant. To read the full story, please visit Game On’s blog.
Nothing came easy for Eddie Pleasant.
The former Oregon Duck spent the first six years of his life growing up in Compton, one of Los Angeles’ toughest ghettos. But when Pleasant discovered his talent in football, he decided to take full advantage.
He scored offers from colleges up and down the coast, but according to Pleasant he signed with Oregon because they were the first. He said, “When they offered me I just kind of jumped on it.”
The early bird certainly got the worm in this instance; Pleasant started his last two seasons as a Duck and even received first team Pac-12 honors following his final season.
But then things started to fall through.
Pleasant didn’t put up great numbers for scouts, testing as a slow runner for his position. Scouts unanimously noted his above average instincts, but felt he lacked the desired athletic ability for pro ball.
Pleasant ultimately went undrafted, and for a second everything seemed to stop. However, he never saw giving up as an option.
He worked hard and ultimately signed with the Houston Texans on May 14th, 2012.
The Texans liked him enough to sign him to the practice squad on September 1st of that year, and three and a half months later Pleasant was officially brought on as a member of the active roster.
He hasn’t looked back since, and even had the chance to re-sign with the Texans this past year. Formerly overlooked, the Texans’ safety now is a valued contributor for a competitive team.
Despite his new job, Pleasant hasn’t lost his connection with the Ducks.
The Texans squared off against the Tennessee Titans, home to another former Duck, Marcus Mariota, a week ago. Pleasant stressed that Mariota is a great player but that if he wants to continue to be great, “he has got to keep working.”
Mariota did not play in the game due to a nagging injury, but Pleasant finished with a quiet, but still impactful, two tackles.
There is a trend throughout my entire conversation with Pleasant: that hard work and determination ultimately pay off.
He faced obstacles before college, during his time at Oregon (as the Ducks lots the Rose Bowl and National Championship in subsequent years) and after college.
He now seems to have hit his stride, but is clear that this was no accident. There will always be ups and downs, this is the nature of football. But as in all facets of life, one’s ability to push through the hardships is what leads to greatness.
Top photo courtesy of Eddie Pleasant