Chicago Bears undrafted rookie Cody Booth is used to uphill climbs. After walking on at Temple, Booth eventually earned a scholarship and led the Owls as a tight end his junior year with four touchdown receptions.
He was converted to offensive tackle his senior year and is now competing for a roster spot as one of Chicago's offensive linemen.
Last season, Booth was nominated for the Brian Bulsworth Award, given to a former NCAA walk-on who made the most of his opportunity.
We caught up with Booth this week during OTAs.
"I'm just so excited to be here it's hard to realize that this is all really happening. I've played football since I was a little kid participating in midget football, Pop Warner. It was all headed to this moment, but I have to admit there were plenty of times I didn't think it would happen. It's always been my dream to make it into the NFL. Now it's a dream come true.
"I'm from Millersville, Pa. Playing football in high school, I lined up at various times at wide receiver, tight end, defensive end and also worked for a time as the long snapper. Essentially, I was put wherever they needed me. Looking back, it was a great education in the sport and it taught me to be able to alter my technique to fit the position I was chosen to fill.
"Because I was a tall kid, I also played basketball. It was fun, but football has always been my first love, so that's how I got here today. During the summer in college, I volunteered at local football and basketball camps. I think that ultimately my goal will be to become a coach.
"At Temple I started 11 out of 12 games at left tackle my senior year. I did miss one game due to a concussion. Junior year I started 11 games at tight end. Freshman and sophomore year I also helped out as snapper on the field goal unit. I think moving around so much like that has given me a great appreciation for the role of just about every player on the offense.
"I'm an optimistic person by nature but I have to admit that draft weekend was not much fun. I tried to tell myself that things would work out for the best in the long run but at times it was difficult to see the bright side of things.
"Finally getting the call from the Bears, however, was definitely exciting. This is a team I've followed as a fan and one that I know has a reputation for excellence. Looking around when I'm on the field and seeing those familiar players is impressive. As a rookie I need to get past being dazzled by the talent on the field and start to raise my own level of play. Still, it seems surreal. Having this opportunity to be here and to wear this uniform is incredible.
"Walking into Halas Hall this morning I was thinking that I can't believe I get to come into work here every day. This is a great environment, home to a tradition of great football.
"The transition so far has been easier than I'd expected. We work hard but it's a good atmosphere for all of us newcomers. The vets have been welcoming and extremely helpful. They are reminding us not to take anything for granted and to take full advantage of every opportunity that we get.
"What have I learned so far? The importance of coming in ready to work every day. You've got to know your plays and be willing to put in the time to get things right. These guys are all stars. My job is to bring my best here every day and show that I can be a winner.
"What did the Bears see in me? I think I'm smart and tough. I'm not afraid to study film or study the playbook. Academics have always been extremely important to me. This is just an extension of that work ethic.
"Football requires a lot more thought than people might suspect. You have to concentrate and learn all the time. Although some things in the playbook are slightly familiar, the terminology is all new. It's like taking an advanced college course where the final isn't an A or a B, its your job. There's a lot of pressure to succeed because so much is at stake.
"My job during this OTA period is to show the Bears organization that the chance they took in choosing me will pay off for the team in the long run."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.