Missed the first two parts of my mini-series? Here they are...
Finally, after just about losing my mind over all these mysterious phone issues that were preventing certain calls from coming through, the phone rang. And, for once, it wasn't Albert (my agent). It was the Chicago Bears.
On the other end of the line was a very nice woman from the Bears' organization. She told me...
"The Chicago Bears are about to draft you."
(Wow, right? Haha.)
Right after I said that, I took a look at the TV to see what was going on, and there it was crawling across the screen...
"The Chicago Bears have drafted Kevin Payne (ULM)."
Just as my heart stopped beating from that amazing sight, the phone line clicked me off hold, and there I was listening to Coach Lovie Smith ask...
"Kevin... Are you ready to be a Chicago Bear?"
I was speechless. I couldn't talk. Like - literally - I couldn't push out a single word! I wanted to answer him, but I couldn't get my response out because I was sweating and crying so hard! <HAHA!> Finally, after fighting myself for a few moments, I sobbed and stuttered...
"Yuh, yuh, yuh, yes...yes, sir."
After that, I just lost it. I was crying SO HARD. When Coach Smith asked me if I was ready to be a Bear, reality finally hit me that I was about to be in the NFL. I had patiently waited two days to see my name crawl across that screen. And when it did, that was the moment my life changed forever.
I was speechless; I was emotional; I was crying; I was thanking God; I was hugging my mother; I was doing everything. I'm telling you, I was so happy! I don't think I had ever cried from being happy with joy before, but I sure was then. I was crying so hard that I don't even know if Coach Smith even understood my reply to him - HA!
To this day, I always thank Coach Smith for liking what he saw in my film and having enough faith in me to draft me into the Chicago Bears organization. When he got on the phone with me that day, I just felt my heart drop, because I knew my childhood dream had come true. I will always be grateful for his support.
Ever since I was in kindergarten, all I ever wanted to do was be an NFL football player. I told everyone, all the time... "I wanna be an NFL football player...I'm going to the NFL...I'm going to the NFL." And for me to have said that for so many years and my promise to the world actually come true -- well...man -- nothing can really explain the feeling of knowing that something you've worked on for so long in your life actually paid off.
Guys... I really appreciate you checking out this little story of mine. Hopefully it was as fun for you to read as it was for me to remember.
And P.S. I have a little bonus material for ya tomorrow. So don't go nowhere.