The Miami Dolphins will cut their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. on September 1 and the common wisdom suggests Quincy Redmon, a rookie undrafted defensive end from Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia, is going to be among those cut.
That’s just he way it is at the NFL mill. It grinds up men with dreams and spits them out like gristle.
So somebody is likely to tell Redmon he can’t play in the NFL now. Someone is likely to explain how the odds beat him. An expert of some sort is likely going to tell Redmon he can’t fulfill his lifelong dream.
But, you see, expert thinking and long odds have never mattered to Quincy Redmon. He is only 24 years old but has endured multiple lifetimes of bad breaks and hard knocks. The experts have told him he’s done before. The odds have seemingly beaten him before.
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And he’s eventually overcome them all.
Paralyzed for a year? Redmon beat that.
Homelessness? Redmon beat that.
Collapsing from what seemed like a heart attack during a basketball game? Redmon beat that.
Listen to Redmon’s story and allow yourself to believe, despite everything you think you know about roster cuts, that sometimes a man simply refuses to be told, “No.”
“This is my foot in the door,” Redmon says. “The Dolphins blessed me with an opportunity. Every part of it, no matter what the role is, just anything, the opportunity has been great. This is a great organization so I’ve been blessed from the day they called me and asked me to be part of the team.
“It was just awesome. I was waiting around after the draft, not knowing what was going to happen -- especially coming from a D-2 school. You never really know what is going to happen. But my faith and everything, I knew it was going to be alright. And when they called me, it was the best feeling in the world.
“This was always what I wanted to do. I never wanted to do anything else. I was just waiting for that opportunity that they blessed me with that day. I knew I wanted to be here since I started playing football when I was eight.”
Redmon’s love for football seemed derailed one year later, at age nine.
“I was playing in the Salvation Army league and I ran somebody down on the sideline and hit them with my head low and hit the ground. Lights out,” Redmon says. “I woke up and just remember they were saying, ‘You’re paralyzed.’
“And I realized I was paralyzed. Then the doctors were questionable about me ever walking again, much less playing again. My chances were slim to none. But I had faith from the time I was a young kid. And I never lost faith.
“I was in the hospital for about three weeks. I got out Christmas eve. That night I was able to get out of my chair. I was able to put the two crutches under me and I had a real bad limp and I was still stuttering real bad. I hadn’t stuttered before. [The hit] just did something. It was an [injury] to my spine. I forget what they called it but it was my left arm, my right leg, the top of my left leg. Couldn’t feel them.
“For a year I had to learn how to walk and talk again. I had a real bad stutter and everything. Yeah, it was hard. And, yeah, before that, I was homeless.
“I was raised by a single mom. At a young age she had me and my brother. I knew my dad but he was like a stranger. And for a while we went from shelter to shelter. I just remember as a kid I didn’t know any better. I just thought that I would go with the flow, not even caring. It was something you didn’t even realize. I was always good.
“We ended up getting on our feet. She got a job at a hospital. And we moved to Salisbury, Maryland and I played at the Salvation Army League there. That’s when I got paralyzed. So it’s always been a road to overcome for me.
“But my faith and my work ethic and my heart, I don’t want to ever be told, ‘No.’ Especially as a kid, they were saying, ‘We don’t know if you could walk again.’ And I was thinking, ‘I love being outside way too much. You’re not going to tell me I can’t play football again, or sports again.’ I decided I was going to be different from what they were saying, so I tried to work as hard as I possibly could and not take days off. Even as I kid I knew that because I wanted to get back to playing again. I even just wanted to play with my friends during recess.
“I eventually got back into things. I got speech therapy. A year later I’m playing baseball.
“But there’s a little bit more of it, because in ninth grade I was playing in a basketball game and I collapsed. Right away doctors thought I had an enlarged heart. So they were actually about to give me a pacemaker but I’m going, ‘We need another opinion.’ So we went to [West Virginia University] and had hours of testing. They came to find out my heart is just really strong. I have a marathon runner heart. So I have a really slow heartbeat and the muscles around it are just really big.
“The doctors were like, ‘I don’t know, you can’t play.’ But we got past that.
“Then my junior year [of high school] my knee broke off in the middle of a basketball game because when I had been paralyzed it had never properly fused together. So there went all my scholarships. I was going to play basketball and that happened. That was supposed to be a year-and-a-half injury because if the paste [to fuse the knee] didn’t stick, there would have been a 50-50 chance I could never play sports again.
“So three times in my life I’ve been told, ‘We don’t know, we don’t think so for you.’ ”
The drama doesn’t end there.
“My senior year in college I only played five game because I separated my shoulder and had an MCL injury. And just to add on, my dad was my granddad. That’s how I thought of him. He passed right before camp. So we’re about to go out to the field and they called me and the coach came in with tears in his eyes to tell me my granddad had passed. That’s right before the season. And then getting hurt twice, it’s been one thing after another.
“But because of all that, I don’t want to be told what I can and can’t do because of circumstances.
“Stuff is going to be hard. Life can beat you down. But only if you let it. Have the mindset every day to come swinging. When bad stuff happens to me, I say to God, ‘This is your plan.’ I believe that. No matter what happens, we’re human and get frustrated, but after I’ve gone through all the obstacles in my life, He’s always made me stronger. Even when I was paralyzed, I looked to Him and knew I would come back fighting.
“All the struggles in my life led to me believing I’m not going to be told no. I know this is a long shot. But you never know what can happen. It was a long shot of me ever walking again. So this is another long shot.”
Redmon, 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Fairmont State.
“Yeah, that’s my Z plan. There’s a whole alphabet of plans before that. It’s amazing to be here but I want to do more than just be here. I’m always trying to show the coaches, running hard, being the last done working on the field. I’m trying to do extra to get an edge.
“People ask what’s your backup plan? I don’t know. But I know whatever does come my way, I’m going to succeed because I’m going to work as hard as I always have at whatever I do. Whatever I do, I’ll be successful.”
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