Ty Nsekhe never gave up on his NFL dream. The 2003 Arlington Bowie graduate never wondered why his journey was taking him out of his way, though he did once briefly consider a future without football.
“I always wanted to pursue the NFL, so if the right opportunity came along, then I was willing to take it,” Nsekhe said in a phone interview. “I felt like all I needed was an opportunity.”
Nsekhe played in the Arena League and the Canadian Football League. Four NFL teams released him, including his current employer, the Washington Redskins, before the door finally opened.
Nsekhe made the first two starts of his career last season at the age of 30.
With starting left tackle Trent Williams suspended for four games, the Redskins have charged Nsekhe with protecting Kirk Cousins’ blindside. He did just that last week against the stout Minnesota Vikings’ defensive line as Washington running back Robert Kelley rushed for 97 yards and Cousins took only one sack while throwing for 262 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-20 Redskins win.
“Anytime that I suit up and get a chance to step on that field, it’s a great opportunity to showcase my talent,” Nsekhe said. “Whether I’m the big package [as an extra offensive lineman], or if I get a chance to play tackle, I’m going to go out there and try to do my best every time.”
Nsekhe started his college career at Texas State and finished at Tarleton State. He signed with the Corpus Christi Sharks of the AF2, the Arena Football League’s development program, in 2009 and later played for the AFL’s Dallas Vigilantes and Philadelphia Soul.
He loved it.
“It’s a more personal-type experience, because the fans are right on top of the field,” Nsekhe said. “A couple of guys I threw over the wall. The fans seemed to love that, so I tried to be a crowd-pleaser sometimes.”
Working as a bodyguard in 2012, the 6-foot-8, 335-pounder contemplated retirement from football.
“It was pretty good income, so I kind of made up my mind if the right [football] opportunity didn’t present itself, that was a good opportunity for me,” Nsekhe said.
The San Antonio Talons matched his salary, and Nsekhe returned to the AFL. A few months later, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts and ended up playing two games for the St. Louis Rams in 2012. He bounced to New Orleans, the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and the AFL’s Los Angeles Kiss.
“It taught me patience and discipline,” Nsekhe said. “I was waiting for the right time, and when the right time appeared, I took full advantage of it.”
In 2015, Nsekhe impressed the Redskins in a workout, and they signed him to a two-year deal. He played in 13 games, including two starts, one against the Dallas Cowboys when he shut down Greg Hardy.
Now Nsekhe, who makes his off-season home in DFW, is sharing his story of perseverance. He visited with students in Fort Worth during the off-season and has plans to do more of the same this off-season.
“I saw my message was a good one from the trials and tribulations I went through off the field,” Nsekhe said. “That was my goal — that still is my goal — to shine a light on the fact that even if you make mistakes, as long as you persevere, you can bounce back from it. Don’t let your mistakes of the past hinder your future.”
My five cents
1The Washington Redskins are not happy with NFL schedule-makers. It isn’t the Thanksgiving Day game on the road against the Dallas Cowboys that has them miffed. It’s the Sunday night game before that. The league gave the Cowboys a home noon game Sunday, with the Redskins kicking off 7 1/2 hours later. “The schedule-makers did us no favors,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “…That’s going to be a grind.”
2 Darrelle Revis, 31, has seen uninvited partygoers overrun Revis Island this season. Kenny Britt torched the New York Jets cornerback to the tune of six catches for 81 yards before coach Todd Bowles put Calvin Pryor and Darryl Roberts on Britt. Revis has allowed 33 catches on 53 targets for 454 yards and a touchdown this season, according to STATS. With $6 million guaranteed next season, Revis likely becomes a salary-cap casualty in the off-season.
3 The Cleveland Browns have won only three games since Nov. 23, 2014, while watching the Cavaliers win the NBA title and the Indians advance to Game 7 of the World Series this year. The Browns could join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.
4 The Philadelphia Eagles figured to part ways with offensive tackle Jason Peters in the off-season. Peters, 34, has an $11.2 million cap hit next season. But he has allowed only two sacks, according to STATS, with one holding penalty, and thus has a good chance to return under a renegotiated deal.
5 Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey quietly has gotten off to a good start in his career. The fifth overall choice limited Chicago’s Alshon Jeffrey to one catch for 3 yards in the second half of their game and has held his own against Oakland’s Amari Cooper, Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins. Ramsey has allowed 30 catches on 53 targets for 331 yards and a touchdown, according to STATS.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Cam Wake has six sacks, including two strip sacks, during Miami’s four-game winning streak. Wake, 34, missed nine games last season after tearing his Achilles.
Detroit Lions receiver Marvin Jones caught 23 passes for 482 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games. He has 14 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the past five and has topped 37 yards receiving only once since his hot start.
31-5 The Seattle Seahawks’ home record since 2012. They have only two losses to nondivision opponents at home during that time — to the Cowboys in 2014 and the Panthers in 2015.
2017 NFL Draft
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com gives his top-10 senior defensive tackles and top-five draft-eligible underclassmen at the position for the 2017 draft:
Senior defensive tackles
1. Jarron Jones, ND (6-5, 315, 5.14)
2. Carlos Watkins, Clemson (6-3, 300, 5.06)
3. Dalvin Tomlinson, Ala. (6-2, 307, 5.14)
4. Montravius Adams, Auburn (6-3, 309, 5.12)
5. Ryan Glasgow, Mich. (6-3, 300, 5.02)
6. Jaleel Johnson, Iowa (6-3, 310, 5.15)
7. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte (6-2, 294, 5.07)
8. Jake Replogle, Purdue (6-5, 275, 4.92)
9. Josh Tupou, Colo. (6-1, 325, 5.22)
10. Treyvon Hester, Toledo (6-3, 300, 5.09)
1. Malik McDowell, Mich. St. (6-6, 285, 4.92)
2. Vita Vea, Wash. (6-4, 322, 5.19)
3. Lowell Lotulelei, Utah (6-2, 302, 5.23)
4. Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA (6-2, 305, 5.17)
5. Charles Walker, Okla. (6-2, 298, 4.98)
The NFC East features all four teams above .500, three currently in playoff position, with a total record of 24-11. The only division with more total victories is the AFC West (25-13), but the NFC East still has a league-best .685 winning percentage.
Interestingly, 84.6 percent of teams that have had winning streaks of four or more games in the previous three seasons have advanced to the playoffs.
Mike Evans has a league-leading 108 targets this season, which is 31 percent of the Bucs’ attempts. The former A&M standout is tied for the league lead with eight touchdown catches and in third-down catches with 18 for 278 yards.
Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, a Frisco Liberty alum, has rushed for 725 yards, and his 5.7 yards per carry average leads the NFL. Mercury Morris owns the team record with a 6.4 average in 1973.
Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore needs 108 yards to pass Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett (12,739) for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown only two touchdown passes in the past five games.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Phil Dawson, a UT alum, needs one field goal to become the 10th in NFL history to reach 400 for a career.
The Kansas City Chiefs are an NFL-best 17-2 in their past 19 games. Seattle (14-4-1) ranks second, New England (13-6) third and Denver (13-7) fourth.
New England has just nine takeaways in nine games, though seven of those came in the first two weeks.
The New York Jets have had 29 starting quarterbacks since Joe Namath last played for the club in 1976.
Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green needs 36 yards to join Randy Moss as the only NFL players to reach 1,000 receiving yards in their first six seasons.
Offensive lineman Cyril Richardson, a North Crowley and Baylor product, was signed to the Chicago Bears practice squad.
The Minnesota Vikings have lost four offensive tackles to season-ending injuries this season.
The San Diego Chargers have 22 turnovers, the most in the NFL. San Diego is on pace to have its most turnovers since 2000 when it had 50 during a 1-15 season.
The Tennessee Titans have lost 10 games in a row to the Colts.
Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.