Rodney McLeod will play in his first Super Bowl on Sunday against the New England Patriots. Although the Eagles have faced key injuries this season, they’ve made it this far but still go into this game as underdogs. That’s been the recurring theme as Super Bowl week gears up in Minneapolis.
However, for McLeod, this isn’t the first time he has encountered the label underdog. From the beginning of his career he has worked his way to the top. It started when no team called his name during the 2012 NFL Draft. McLeod went on to join the St. Louis Rams at an undrafted rookie then made his way to a full-time starter. This was not the journey he had in mind but it prepared him for this very moment.
“I play the game with a chip on my shoulder. I kind of got overlooked coming out but stayed focused and just was determined,” said McLeod. “I think that’s what you see here. A lot of players are just so determined and driven. When someone tells us we can’t do something, we step up to the plate and we get it done.”
McLeod is now one of Philadelphia’s key players going into the Super Bowl and he isn’t taking it for granted. When Pro Player Insiders caught up with him at Opening Night, he was on the floor with a camera around his neck taking in the moment.
“It’s a memory that you’ll never get back. I just want to make the most of it and take it all in. Nothing is guaranteed in this business. It took me six years to get to this point. I’m excited,” said McLeod. “All of these guys out here have earned it. We’re just enjoying it. Being on the biggest stage. There’s two teams left playing ball right now and we’re one of them. Come Sunday, it’s showtime.”
So when he hears the Eagles being called underdogs, he focuses on the positive. “We lost a lot of guys this season but nobody missed a beat. Guys have stepped in and did what they had to do. They’ve done it like no other. That’s why we’re here.”
If McLeod’s story can teach you anything, it’s that hard work pays off. When obstacles come your way, just keep going. Six years later he is close to reaching the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl championship.
“It’s an amazing feeling and its been a heck of a journey just knowing I came here to Philadelphia for this moment. Now I’m five days away from making it happen. It feels good and obviously, I’m happy about my decision.”
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