To former IFL WR Nick Truesdell, life is all about chances.
"One of the biggest things I learned from the IFL is to keep working and there will always be another chance," said Truesdell. "You just have to take advantage of your chances."
Taking advantage of his chances has afforded Truesdell an opportunity that few IFL players receive: the opportunity to make a 53 man NFL roster.
Truesdell's story has humble beginnings. Despite playing little in college at both the University of Cincinnati and Grand Rapids Community College, Truesdell was invited to the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans minicamps, but ultimately signed with the IFL's Colorado Ice (later Crush) in 2014.
Playing on a team that sported one of the top passing attacks in the IFL, Truesdell still had an uphill battle to earn playing time with the squad. Languishing on the bench, Truesdell later joined the expansion Bemidji Axemen and proceeded to make the most of his second IFL opportunity.
Under IFL Hall of Fame Head Coach Robert Fuller's squad, Truesdell made an immediate impact. In his first game starting for the Axemen, Truesdell caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Truesdell continued his strong play and caught at least a touchdown pass in each of his next four games.
Truesdell caught his first big break during the team's Week 11 trip to Green Bay. Against the Blizzard, the 6'6" WR had his biggest game yet, as he caught seven passes for 100 yards and four touchdowns en route to being named IFL Offensive Player of the Week. Truesdell's stellar play caught the eye of another team in Green Bay: the Green Bay Packers.
Following the four touchdown performance, the Packers invited Truesdell to the team's rookie minicamp. Despite getting good feedback from the Packers, Truesddell was not offered a contract.
Still, Truesdell persevered.
After stints with the Spokane Shock (later Empire), Portland Thunder and the Arizona Rattlers, Truesdell earned his chance again.
In 2017, Truesdell was invited to the NFL's Veteran Scouting Combine and made the most of his opportunity. Surrounded by NFL general managers and Director of Player Personnel, Truesdell impressed scouts with his agility, size and speed.
"It (the whole experience) was crazy, but I was ready for it," said Truesdell. " I knew I had an opportunity as I was surrounded by NFL scouts."
After blazing through the 40- yard dash in a speedy 4.59 seconds, Truesdell received offers from nine teams and ultimately signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
"The Vikings showed the most interest in me from their GM. They only had a few returning tight ends and the numbers were in my favor," said Truesdell."In addition, they had a very TE friendly offense."
As he now endures his first NFL training camp and upcoming preseason game, Truesdell still has the same mentality he always has had.
" I am anxious and ready to get to it. I am doing everything I can to show what I can do."
As he prepares to lace up for his first-ever NFL game tomorrow night, he has not forgotten his roots and offers a piece of advice to all players looking to advance their football careers.
"Try to be the hardest worker. Really work at what you do and get all the film you can get. It is not impossible and it is definitely worth it."