Motivation pays off for 1st-round pick Verrett

BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) — People should probably think twice before doubting Jason Verrett’s chances in the NFL simply because he’s only 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds.

Verrett went from having no scholarship offers out of high school to being taken in the first round of the draft by the San Diego Chargers.

When he hugged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday night, he didn’t seem to want to let go.

“I was just in the moment being surprised and excited,” said Verrett, who was taken with the 25th pick overall. “Just the length I had to go to, from high school to juco to the adversity I had to face as a young player, all that excitement and emotion came out in that hug. If it was a 10-second hug, my bad. I was just enjoying it.”

Verrett is from Fairfield, which is between Sacramento and San Francisco. He said he could have walked on at Fresno State as a freshman, but figured he’d have a better opportunity at Santa Rosa Junior College.

“I wanted to get a scholarship to help my parents,” Verrett said Friday.

His parents, Warren and Cynthia Verrett, attended his introductory news conference Friday.

Verrett spent just one season at Santa Rosa before earning a scholarship from TCU.

“It’s a wonderful story,” his mother said.

Verrett said he’s always been confident despite his size.

“It’s motivation, determination, hard work and commitment,” he said. “Those are the things I carry with me wherever I go. I wasn’t the biggest guy in high school, wasn’t the fastest guy, the smartest guy, but I was the guy who always wanted to be somebody. I happened to take that route to go through juco and then to TCU. It definitely shows my character and hard work and passion.”

Verrett said he got his toughness from his parents.

“They’re hard-nosed people,” he said. “They don’t back down for nobody. When I’m out there on the football field, I’m going to be competitive, I’m going to be that guy that wants to make plays. When I’m out there on the football field, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’m motivated.”

Verrett became emotional when asked what it meant to have his parents and other family members sitting in front of him at the news conference.

Earlier, he mentioned that his parents changed allegiances after finding out Thursday night that their son was headed to San Diego.

“Before that phone call, my parents were Raiders fans. Right after that phone call, they were Chargers fans,” he said.

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson

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