Dre Muhammad never stopped believing that he’d play professional football and never stopped training for the occasion. On Saturday, his perseverance paid off.
After hearing nothing from any professional football franchise since a workout with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in May, Muhammad received a phone call from the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night asking him to come to California for a tryout. He flew out Friday, worked out for the Raiders on Saturday and was offered a contract for training camp immediately after. He will sign Sunday when the Raiders formally report to camp in Napa Valley, Calif.
“I just kept training,” Muhammad said. “Kept working and it paid off.”
Muhammad transferred to Indiana from Purdue as a walk-on in 2008 and didn’t receive a scholarship until 2011. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder established himself as one of the team’s hardest workers, however, and finally earned a scholarship and six starts as a senior. He saw action in all 12 games and caught 26 passes for 238 yards.
Muhammad had arguably the best performance at Indiana’s Pro Day in early March, running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He was hopeful that would convince teams to take a flyer on him and he heard from the Green Bay Packers but never received a contract offer.
Now, Muhammad will be fighting with 89 other players to be among the 53 that make the regular season roster.
“I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing even when I was in college,” Muhammad said. “Working hard. Out-working everybody. Showing my willingness to learn when I get the opportunity. Special teams will be huge for me. I’m going to be taking advantage of every opportunity. Being in the film room more than I’ve ever been. This is a job and the playbook is bigger than the dictionary.”