CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Monte Gaddis made headlines a few years back waiting outside the Cleveland Browns' practice facility asking for a shot.
That was 2015, for three days he held a sign stating his case.
Admittedly it was a crazy idea, but it spoke volumes about his passion to perform professionally.
3 years later his dream of playing pro ball came true, through the sport of rugby.
Instead of FirstEnergy Stadium he plays in venues overseas.
The ball is also a tad bit bigger.
In the past two years he’s played in the United Kingdom, Toronto, Serbia, Turkey and Amsterdam.
Gaddis said that the transition was beyond smooth.
Coaches were impressed with his natural ability to pick up the sport and the explosiveness and agility he picked up over his years playing American football gave him a huge advantage.
“I feel like I was born to tackle and run the ball. With no pads it just felt like playing ‘Dynoman’ when I was growing up.”
(watch video for the breakdown of his childhood past time.)
The former Cleveland Central Catholic graduate’s story is one of resilience.
After graduating in 2010 he walked on to play football at the University of Maryland
But he was forced to drop out after his first year due to academic failure.
- 2011 he refocused and went to Junior college playing football for Dean College in Franklin MA.
- There he caught the attention of Towson University where he was voted team captain and earned All-American honors as a linebacker
- He got his first taste of ‘paid play' traveling to Poland where he played football overseas.
- 2015 - He pulled the Browns stunt
- Shortly after that he got a brief working opportunity with an Arena League team, the Iowa Barnstormers
- It was 2016 where his dreams took shape through the sport of rugby
While Gaddis is happy where the game has taken him, he made a point to say that this isn’t the end of his dream to play in the NFL.
The most amazing thing about his journey is he’s doing it all with a smile of his face, inspiring others to get involved and take a leap of faith with the sport.
“I just want kids to know there’s another way to make it out," Gaddis said.
The past year he developed an organization called Gaddis Guidance where he mentors the youth in his community giving them advice and elite training with some of the area’s best athletes.
His goal is to inspire, and from the looks of it, it seems to be working.