Even though fifth-round draft pick Dre Greenlaw is ready for all of the stories to be about his football playing abilities, he knows that his background is what makes him who he is today.
Shortly after Greenlaw was drafted as the 148th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, a story started circulating about him on Twitter. A man named Gerry Daly claimed that as a freshman at the University of Arkansas, Greenlaw saved his daughter from what could have been an unfortunate fate.
Daly told a story about how in 2015 Greenlaw thwarted an attempt by man at a fraternity party to lead his daughter out of the venue after Rohypnol was slipped into her drink. The story got a quite a bit of attention, but it took Greenlaw a few days to respond.
During his introductory availability with local Bay Area media, he explained why.
“I had just gotten drafted so I wasn’t sure,” Greenlaw said. “I didn’t want to respond thank you and not quite remember it. The girl called me a couple of days after the tweet, so I was happy to respond to him.”
Greenlaw went into great detail describing the evening at the Sigma Chi party, mentioning that he knew Meghan Daly from being classmates at Fayetteville High School where she was a cheerleader and he played on the football team.
Greenlaw spoke about remembering seeing Meghan at the party and recalled her saying she wasn’t feeling well. She suspected someone had slipped something in her drink but Greenlaw was a little reluctant to get involved. Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema had just spoken to the team about off-field behavior and Greenlaw didn’t want to risk anything.
“We had just had a talk with coach B about parties and being a freshman,” Greenlaw said. “And I had kind of made a name for myself and I really didn’t want to get too involved with it because I didn’t want to put my name in a position to where I got myself in trouble.”
Daly spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about the desire to thank Greenlaw for several years while also not wanting him to get into trouble either.
"He was an underage athlete, attending a party where there was alcohol, even though he was not drinking," Daly said. "He was a college football player in the SEC.”
Knowing Meghan from high school, Greenlaw noticed her behavior seemed altered. When she came up to him a second time saying she thought someone put something in her drink, he still hesitated.
Greenlaw didn’t get want to get involved and jeopardize his chances with the football team but he still kept a watchful eye over Meghan. When he saw someone starting to get aggressive with her physically, he knew he no longer could idly stand by.
“I felt like I needed to step in,” Greenlaw said. “I’m thankful it stopped when it did and I took action, because you never know what could have happened. I pray to God that nothing would have, but I felt like that was what was right at the time.”
Greenlaw spent the next 20-30 minutes with Meghan searching the entire fraternity house for the friends that brought Meghan to the party. Finally he somehow got one of their phone numbers and made contact. The next morning Meghan called and thanked Greenlaw for what he did and explained how she had gone to the hospital to have her stomach pumped to remove the drug from her system.
Greenlaw believes his protective nature just kicked in. He has younger sisters that he would obviously done the same for. What he did wasn’t for any publicity, he was helping a friend and it was just the right thing to do.
This is not the first time that Greenlaw has garnered attention for his life off of the field. After committing to the University of Arkansas, the story of his challenging childhood received quite a bit of publicity.
Greenlaw was moved around repeatedly in the foster care system for several years until one of his high school football coaches, Brian Early, opened up his home to the young linebacker. His path is very similar to the one player he models himself after the most -- former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.
This is the story that Greenlaw said that scouts and coaches asked him about during the draft process.
“At first it really was frustrating,” Greenlaw said. “I went to a lot of interviews that were just about family stuff. First thing I got from scouts was 'Tell me about your family backgound’ and it’s like man, you don’t want me to tell you about my football?
“I mean it was frustrating, but I look back on it and it’s a story that not a lot of people can say they went through and that they made it out of.”
While Greenlaw is looking forward to his rookie year with plans on making football headlines, he is still thankful for his notable background and to Daly for sharing the story.