This past Monday Bucs Report was at One Buc Place’s indoor practice field to attend the NFL’s 2019 International Player Pathway Pro-Day.
The International Player Pathway program was started in 2017 as an effort to expand the NFL’s global presence.
This years participants included:
– David Bada, DE, (Germany)
– Moubarak Djeri, DT, (Germany)
– Valentine Holmes, RB/WR, (Australia)
– Jakob Johnson, FB, (Germany)
– Durval Neto, DT, (Brazil)
– Maximo Sanchez, LB, (Mexico)
– Christian Wade, RB/KR, (England)
All 7 participants put on a good workout. One of them stood out to me, not just for athleticism and enormous size, but for the way he carried himself. That players was Durval Neto from Brazil.
This young man is a physical specimen. His athleticism for his size was very impressive. Then, when talking after the workouts with him we stumbled on a few interesting facts about him.
Durval Neto wasn’t just a huge hulking behemoth, but is also a former Judo champion in Brazil. Yes you heard that right, Judo champion! Durval who has been playing American football in Brazil the past 4 years, and is a highly respected Judo champion.
The fact that Durval is a former Judo champion is indeed impressive, but I think the Tampa Bay area might be more impressed with the fact that Durval is a fan of the Buccaneers, especially of Kicker Cairo Santo.
When I asked Durval what made him a Buccaneers fan he responded, “The Bucs are known for defense, I play defense”.
When asked who his favorite Buccaneer player was, his answer was not surprising. Durval responded, “Mr. Sapp, he is who I want to be, he is the standard”.
Being a Judo champion and Buccaneers fan are both great things to hear, but the biggest thing I took away from my conversation with Durval was his humbleness. He was just a polite, courteous young man. One that was just as honored to be given a chance to compete, and to show his talents. Just as he was to be called a Judo champion.
Durval would be a good fit in the NFL just because he his skill set, but because of his intangibles as well. The NFL can always use more players like Durval.