BY ERIC GARLAND, CSNmidatlantic.com
Former Towson and Maryland football player Monte Gaddis is refusing to let his dream of playing in the NFL fade away.
In fact, he stood outside of the Cleveland Browns’ practice facility from Monday to Wednesday of this week, just hoping for a tryout.
Gaddis, who played one year at Maryland before transferring to Towson, documented his journey on Instagram through a series of videos and photos. On Monday and Tuesday he posted photos of himself standing outside the Browns’ facility, wearing his Towson jersey and holding a cardboard sign that read, “Starving for my 1st shot, why not?”
#Day2..... This has been a crazy experience that I'm ready to turn into reality. Im out here standing in the rain lol I'm starving for this. To be honest, this has been closest I've felt being near the NFL since draft day 2014. When I do get picked up by a team, it will not only be because of the support I get but people are finally starting to see my vision, hard work & preparation for this. I even met Joe Haden yesterday, he offered me money because him and his wife thought I was starting my own football team Didn't accept the money, that tryout was worth more than that. We both showed great character, much respect. Everybody saying they would of took the money, but I'm thinking longevity. I could have a locker right next to him, gotta keep it 100. Real is real! I speak respectively to everyone by saying good morning & event to the people that drive by and honk the horn. If you check all my social networks you would know this is my dream and I'd anything for that chance to play at the highest level. We have plenty of millionaires from Cleveland, but how many can you count on one hand that actually come back or even give back to the community??? I haven't played on tv in 2 years but I know my city knows me because of how I actually #GiveBack & wants to see my city grow. Not judging anyone, but they have the money to easily give back. I barely have $4 in my pockets and still living in the hood but I make sure my family & city is good. Positivity spreads quick, this could be a life changing story for me and someone who I inspire! I'm out here in my Towson University jersey, 2012 All-American. Just to bring back memories and feel it again. But if you really want to be motivated, read what supporters and strangers are saying under the pics I'm tagged in. Very touching Please keep supporting me! I won't let you down, I know once they see me perform they will love my athleticism and work ethic. Even if the Cleveland Browns don't pick me up, someone will see my hunger and see how valuable I can be for a team.
A photo posted by Monté Gaddis (@montegaddis) on Nov 10, 2015 at 5:44am PST
His campaign got the attention of Cleveland’s Fox 8, and the news channel ran a story on his quest for an NFL shot.
“I just have confidence in myself that I know I can make this team and change things around,” he said to the station, this time wearing his Terps jersey, in a news package that aired Thursday. “I’m not giving up on it until something happens.”
#Day3.....First off I want to thank EVERYONE for the support, I really need it and it doesn't go unnoticed. This is for all the underdogs, players with no scholarship, walk ons, 6th man & scout team players. GO GET IT‼️ We gotta EAT Anything worth having, is worth fighting for. I hope I lit a fire in everyone to go out and get what they want out of life. I have 4 brothers & 4 sisters, I can't give up on them. I thank God everyday for putting me in this situation, opening all doors for me, and putting me through all trials & tribulations to mold me into the man I am today. Let's keep this going y'all, WE GOTTA TURN THE SUPPORT UP 10x MORE‼️‼️ All I wanna do is take care of my family, put on for my CITY, and play ball!!! Help me keep my dreams alive, your support doesn't go unnoticed. When I look back at these pictures, I want to laugh and say "Damn, I made it!" And even after I make it, Ima keep going. Playoffs, ProBowl, Super Bowl, and Hall of Fame. Yea it's a lot, but that's where the fun begins for me. Plus I'm from #CLEVELAND we haven't seen support like this in a while, and I'm not a celebrity at all. If y'all think I was giving back now, wait til I make a team! Keep me in your prayers and let's hit up all radios, tv shows, news, NFL teams or whoever. #GaddisGuidance #MonteGaddis #MotivationalUseOnly #Dedication #TeamMonteGaddis #SupportMe ‼️‼️
A photo posted by Monté Gaddis (@montegaddis) on Nov 11, 2015 at 5:57am PST
His unusual strategy seemingly paid off, at least to a degree.
Gaddis told the station that Browns General Manager Ray Farmer met with him outside the building to talk and asked Gaddis to personally email him his highlight tapes.
Gaddis, a Cleveland native, is hoping that he will get invited to a tryout after Farmer reviews his tape. While a walk-on player at Maryland, he played in three games on special teams before transferring to Dean Junior College in Massachusetts.
Gaddis then transferred to finish his remaining eligibility at Towson, where he played from 2012-13. In his senior season, he finished second on the team in tackles and earned second team All-CAA honors.