They call him “Speedy” Byrd and he’s a wide receiver that started out in Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. In fact, he wanted to play pro football nearly his whole life. When he was young, he wrote a letter to his mother telling her so:
Wrote this when I was young then went and got it! Spoke it into Existence and worked for this opp pic.twitter.com/rmJprpY2Q3
— Dontez Byrd (@_SpeedyByrd) August 6, 2018
However, like many footballers, there would be many hurdles to cross before Dontez’s “legacy” could be achieved.
When he graduated from high school, Dontez did not have an offer to play at the college level. However, he walked on at Louisville and earned his way onto the team. It worked out, and Byrd made a name for himself on special teams.
In 2017, his senior season, Byrd transferred to Tennessee Tech, where he had a stellar year as a wide receiver where he caught 78 passes for 1,003 yards, and six TDs.
In 2018, this led to Dontez being signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent. After a rookie minicamp, he earned himself a spot on the roster for the preseason. Even though he was waived before the beginning of the regular season, Dontez remains positive about the experience.
“I played in all four preseason games and had three catches for 76 yards,” he said. “it was good to come in and be around all those receivers that I looked up to in college, and having a chance to play with them in the NFL was pretty cool. And now, I use what they taught me today.”
After a switch of agents, his career suffered a slight pause. Byrd’s next opportunity came in 2019 with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). However, his playing time was limited due to an ankle sprain.
After the AAF league folded, Byrd returned to the situation where he was looking for a new pro football team. When the XFL came along, he expressed interest in the league and looked for an XFL opportunity.
That opportunity finally came in January when he received an invitation to join the Seattle Dragons at their preseason training camp in Houston. The timing of that call was quite miraculous, as Dontez was waiting for a job interview when it happened.
“It’s crazy because I received a call at 8:30 in the morning, and I was in a job interview,” Dontez explained. “It was actually my first job interview. I’ve been waiting a while to play football, and I just decided I was going to get a job.”
“I left the interview and went home. Then, I got packed up and got ready to go.”
Through his faith, Dontez just knows it was divine intervention.
— Seattle Dragons (@XFLDragons) January 16, 2020
Now that he is in the Dragons training camp, Dontez is anxious and eager to get on the field, prove himself, and make the Dragon’s roster.
“I know we only have a couple of practices left, and a preseason game Monday. So, I have to get out there and get some good film on tape so I can make this roster.”
Speedy Byrd has his work cut out for him, but we have faith that his skill, determination and drive will lead him to achieve his legacy.
To hear the entire interview with Dontez Byrd, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 20
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