You never know when you’re going to have that breakthrough moment in your career. For Dee Delaney, it’s coming now with the Super Bowl champion Bucs.
After bouncing around from four different organizations since 2018, Delaney has finally made a 53-man roster here in Tampa Bay. Signing with the Bucs after training camp already began, the undrafted corner beat the odds with a strong preseason.
Delaney made a big impact on special teams, earning him a couple of shoutouts from Bruce Arians. Then, during last Saturday’s preseason game, Delaney recorded two interceptions and put a stamp on his audition to make the squad.
What made the accomplishment that much sweeter is that Delaney didn’t play for any team at all last season. He thought his career might be over and started looking for other jobs. It’s a story of true perseverance to get here.
“I think first I just kept God first through it all,” Delaney said. “Just kept my faith in Him knowing that this is what I wanted to do. I would say my family. I just had a daughter last year – she’s one. She was extra motivation for me. My trainer, he never let off of me. He just kept me going like, ‘Man you’re going to get back in the NFL, so I want you to be ready by any means.’”
Delaney considered going into the military when he thought his football days might be over. He went as far as taking the military test and passing it. There was a lot going on for him at the time in 2020 as he became a new father while he faced the thought of wondering if he can play in the NFL again.
“It was tough. I got off social media because I didn’t want to see anybody else in the league,” Delaney said. “I felt like I should have been there. It was hard. Just working out every day not knowing when I would get an opportunity.
“It’s crazy because last fall I was just talking around and thinking. I just had a daughter so I was just talking around with my family and I’m thinking ‘well, maybe it’s over’. Maybe I need to do something, so my wife was like, ‘You know the military can be an option’, so I went and took the military test. I ended up passing it, but I don’t know if I wanted to do that. I ended up just looking for jobs and we thought about moving, but it was alright. Just kept working out through it all.”
Fast forward to the 2021 season, and Delaney has become a favorite of Arians and special teams coach Keith Armstrong. Delaney mentioned he found out he made the Bucs roster after getting a phone call from his agent while he was playing with his daughter and spending time with his wife.
Even after having such a good training camp he wasn’t sure if was going to make the team. All he could focus on was giving his best effort every day.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Delaney said. “I just went out every day and just gave it my all. I knew what it felt like to be at home. Each and every day I just grind, grind, grind.”
Mission accomplished, Dee Delaney.