“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey
Player Profile: Jerimiah Spicer
Every now and then you encounter an individual that makes you pause, listen and adsorb the magnitude of the story they are telling.
Jerimiah Spicer is one of those individuals.
I read an article about a young man with an incredible story and commented on the article. Much to my surprise, Jerimiah had shared the article, and let me know that young man was him.
Jerimiah shares his story both to inspire people to never give up, and with the belief that if he does everything he possibly can, he will get an audience and the possibility of a chance to prove himself.
Jerimiah Spicer did not seem destined for greatness. He was born on Skid Row, in downtown LA.
Skid Row is America’s homeless capital. An estimated 5,000- 8,000 people live in tents, under tarps, or simply sleep in the street. In 1991, the conditions were even more deplorable than they are today, and the homeless crisis was largely ignored. This area was ripe with drug abuse and mental illness. Many people landed here with no options, and no hope. Jerimiah Spicer’s mother was one of those people.
As a baby, he was abandoned by his drug addicted mom and her friends in a trash can while his brother was thrown under a bus tire. While pregnant with his sister, Miracle, his mother was attacked with a knife. Miracle and his mother barely survived.
Jerimiah’s words are more poignant than anything I could write:
“I was born at Torrance Memorial Hospital. My mom took me down there [to Skid Row] with her cause she was doing drugs. She stayed down there for like 30 years. That’s why she died. I got took from her because she had me down there for 2 and a half years. Then got placed with my grandma. Then got took from my grandma. Then went to foster homes and group homes and homeless again. Sleeping from couch to couch, house to house or in my car. My grandma died so I really had nobody. I had to survive after I got emancipated.”
If anyone had a reason to give up, it was young Mr. Spicer. But Jerimiah is not built for giving up.
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
Jerimiah went to eight different high schools. Each time, he had to overcome the trepidation of fitting in, starting over, and making a place for himself, all wearing what he calls dusty clothes. He spend his high school years proving himself as an athlete in worn cheap shoes, only to have to start over at the next school. Jeremiah may not have had the wardrobe, but he certainly had the talent.
He found a place for this talent at Banning High School and then at Riverside Community College. His coach at Riverside, Tom Craft, worked with him to develop this talent while Jerimiah struggled to find a place to sleep at night.
When the time came around for the NFL Regional Combine, Jeremiah was ready.
He was told that he didn’t qualify. His school was too small, he didn’t have even tape.
“When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw
His college career was notable enough for The Major League Football to draft him. The MLFB was a professional league that collapsed before he had the chance to play.
Jeremiah tried out for the Cape Fear Heroes of the American Arena League in 2018. Given a chance to play, this man balled out.
147 tackles as a rookie, leading the league
2018 First Team All Arena Honors
2018 First Team All Arena League Linebacker
Coach Mike Singletary of the Memphis Express called. This was his chance. The league folded as he was about to get on a plane.
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary
Jeremiah has met with and tried out for the Cleveland Browns, LA Chargers, Tampa Bay (twice), and had interest from the Minnesota Vikings. He has met twice with the Rams and the Buccaneers. He has passed out his film at the LA Rams and Arizona Cardinals facilities, and had a CFL tryout with Winnipeg. Sent his film to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tried out with the Cleveland Gladiators AFL1 and the LA KISS. This exceptionally talented man showed up at the LA KISS facility with his cleats and gear. They didn’t have the funds to sign him.
“Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” – Matt Biondi
Jerimiah Spicer is not built for giving up.
And while at any moment he could get a call back from any of these teams, he is not sitting around waiting. He is constantly calling, passing out film, and doing everything humanly possible to put himself in front of someone willing to give him a chance. At the same time, he is filling his social media with encouraging, positive messages to anyone looking to live their dreams.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
Jerimiah was invited to the XFL Summer Showcase in LA, and all his training what on display. The XFL is doing Showcases in 8 cities, with 100 invite-only players competing for the opportunity to make it into their draft pool.
Jerimiah made into the draft pool.
Once again, Jerimiah Spicer is waiting. He is training and getting better every single day. Still sharing his footage and reaching out, while encouraging other players to keep trying.
“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.” – Mike Ditka
Jerimiah has harnessed the power of his story and speaks to over 25,000 disadvantaged children a year. He is raising a son and has twins on the way.
I don’t know where this young man will end up playing, but I do know any team is beyond lucky to have him.
You can find his film highlights, awards and contact information here:
Facebook: Jerimiah Spicer
To get a glimpse of the conditions on Skid Row: