New York Giants rookie running back Da’Rel Scott hasn’t had the easiest path to the NFL. What Scott does have is a strong support system and an inner drive to succeed. Scott has used his difficulties, which have been many, to fuel his desire to achieve his dreams.
When he was 8 years old Scott’s father walked out, abandoning Da’Rel, his mom and two brothers.
“I am always going to have anger because of how he did me,” Da’Rel said in an interview with the Washington Post. “It is always going to be there. It is not going away. No way at all.”
After his father departed, he would schedule time with his son but would never make good on his promises. “He just kept letting me down. Just day by day, I was thinking, ‘I need a father figure in my life.’ ”
Despite their own turmoil, Da’Rel’s mom and brothers did all they could to provide support and guidance.
Da’Rel and his mom had lived with Karen Jackson and her family after his father left. In 2005, his Aunt Karen was killed by his cousin Derek Wayne Jackson.
Da’Rel was enraged and struggled with Karen’s murder, but his brothers were there for him. “They had to grab me,” Da’Rel said. “I went crazy that night. I don’t know what happened. My brothers had to calm me down. It took a lot for them to get me. I just broke down after that. It was hard.”
His difficulties continued the following year, when Da’Rel was at his first training camp at Maryland. A close friend of his from high school, Vinny Bernardo, had died on the practice field at Shippensburgh University. The two were very close throughout high school and shared rides to high school football games.
“I called my mom just bawling,” Da’Rel said when remembering that day. “And I was chilling with him a couple days before camp, relaxing like nothing else. That’s the last thing I remembered, just seeing his face.”
Throughout his career at Maryland, Da’Rel remembered those he lost, and has used their memory as a source of motivation for his accomplishments on the field. Before each game, he would write “RIP Aunt Karen” on one wrist strap and “RIP Vinny B.” on the other.
Da’Rel has never been one to let things get him down and has tried to make the most of the opportunities he has been given. After coming back from a shoulder injury in his 2008 college season, he was suspended along with six of his teammates for a curfew violation before the Humanitarian Bowl. Da’Rel was forced to sit out the first half of the game.
Although limited to playing only the second half, he rushed for a Maryland-bowl-record 174 yards.
“I felt I let my team down doing that, so I just had to make up for it,” Da’Rel told the Baltimore Sun.
Now Da’Rel is living his dream of playing in the NFL. He was selected in the seventh round this year by the New York Giants.
The Giants already have two established running backs on the team with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw so Da’Rel has his hands full trying to find a spot on the Giants’ roster.
Giants GM Jerry Reese said, “We took a flyer on the guy because he is big and fast.” At 200 pounds, he recorded the fastest 40-yard-dash time of any running back in the combine.
So true to his nature, Da’Rel made the most of the chances he has been given and showed what he was made of during Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.
While four other running backs on the roster split 23 carries in the game, he was given the ball just once. Not much of an opportunity to make an impression.
After stumbling in the backfield and almost going down in his own end zone, he recovered and ran for a 97 yard touchdown.
In spite of only getting the ball once, Da’Rel made the most of the opportunity and definitely made an impression, not only on the coaches but on everyone watching the game on Monday night.
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