By David Toronto
There are some pretty immaculate and rare stories out there, but none compare to the underdog stories of Devlin Hodges and Kurt Warner, two NFL quarterbacks that found a very abnormal way into the spotlight.
Kurt Warner, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback, didn’t take the normal route to Canton. Warner attended Northern Iowa University, a smaller school for football, dominated the field. In Warner’s Senior year, he tossed 4,356 yards and 27 touchdowns. Warner declared for the NFL draft in 1993, but was never selected, Warner thought his football dreams were gone for good. In the meantime, Warner bagged groceries at his local supermarket. Working for $5.50 an hour, he was staring defeat and hardship in the face.
One day everything changed. Warner was invited to the Green Bay Packers’ training camp in 1995. Warner was then signed to the St. Louis Rams, and finally became the starter in 1996 when quarterback Trent Green went down with an injury. Junior at Glenelg High School, Pierce Pusheck, says, “The story of Kurt Warner is so special because it is the definition of a Cinerella story. Grocery bagger to Hall of Fame quarterback, try and beat that.” Warner is such a great underdog story because of his origin. He was just like anyone else, a normal working class guy, and flourished into something special.
Warner played five seasons with the Rams and shattered record books, causing his offensive unit to be named, “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Warner won a Super Bowl, was awarded two MVPs, and racked up three Pro Bowl appearances with his time with the Rams. Warner then finished out his career with the Arizona Cardinals, leading them to a Super Bowl.
Junior at Glenelg High School, Sam Gruber, says, “Warner was a legend. He single handedly fueled the greatest offense ever, and was one of the best to ever do it.” Warner transformed the NFL with the Rams high-flying, electric offense. The craziest thing is, Warner was getting paid $5.50 an hour to bag groceries and now is compared to some of the best quarterbacks of all time.
On the flip side there is Devlin Hodges. Hodges, the current back-up quarterback to Mason Rudolph on the Pittsburgh Steelers, is nowhere close talent wise to Warner. Although, Hodges journey to the NFL may be more unique than Warner’s. Former pro duck-caller, and two time winner of the Alabama State Duck Calling Championship snuck into the most exclusive club on the planet—— the NFL. Out of 7.7 billion people in the world, 1,696 of those play in the NFL. It just so happened that a two-time duck calling champion has one of those slots.
Junior at Glenelg High School, Charlie Robinson, says, “ If a pro duck-caller can make it into the NFL and actually have a prominent role on a decent football team, I’ll be dunking on Lebron James in the NBA finals in 5 years.” Despite his backround, Hodges recently started his first NFL game. Hodges took the stage on Sunday Night Football against the LA Chargers in place of injured Mason Rudolph. Devlin “Duck” Hodges was dueling with Hall of Fame quarterback Phillip Rivers all night.
The Steelers ended up stealing the win in LA and Hodges was given the ceremonial game ball for his remarkable performance. Hodges slung the ball 27 times, completing 18 of those attempts for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior at Glenelg High School, Henry Soeken, says, “ I watched the game between the Chargers and Steelers and Hodges did not look like a rookie. He was patient, accurate, and very entertaining to watch. It’s crazy to think a couple years ago he was a pro duck-caller.” Hodges is a real rags to riches story. Even though he only has started one NFL game to this date, he has left a lasting impact on the NFL.
All in all, Warner and Hodges don’t play, look or think alike at all. What makes these stories so coherent and special is the fact that both of these guys came from nothing, and have truly made it. From grocery bagging to professional duck calling, these two individuals prove that anything is possible.