NFL hopeful and defensive back out of Austin Peay State University Juantarius Bryant jumped on the opportunity of a lifetime when he received a text message from Dean Pees, defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, inviting him to visit the team for a workout at the start of rookie minicamps.
Bryant arrived at Flowery Branch according to the text’s instructions, only to realize that the text was not sent by Dean Pees and was a deliberate prank meant to give the DB false hope.
In a statement released on Twitter, Bryant recounted the timeline of events that led to the unfortunate realization:
“Someone contacted me from a 404 area code number pretending to be Dean Pees, the DC for the Atlanta Falcons,” admitted Bryant. “I did not realize it was not a legit opportunity until I traveled to the facility for rookie minicamp check in on Wednesday, May 12th.”
The defensive back from Nashville, Tennessee was a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection after a recorded 107 tackles for Austin Peay in 2019.
Bryant and his agent reached out to the Falcons regarding the incident and despite no news of an actual tryout in the works, Juantarius and his team are hopeful that he will see his opportunity in the league one day and transform the cheap prank into a story of perseverance.
Sports have long been a meritocracy in America, built not just solely on physical ability, but a willingness to show up when an opportunity is given.
Bryant’s ambition and disregard for the tasteless act of deception prove that he has got the right attitude and body of work to make it in the NFL.
“I do not know or understand why this has happened, but I do know that everything happens for a reason … this will not make or break me.”