From Staff Reports

No talk of glitz and glam or money or being on TV. No mention of Madden ratings or fairytale lifestyles. Trevor Denbow delivered the real talk, the N.O.W. message, to players in the Corsicana football program Friday.

After all, the former Tiger is more like them than any 5-star recruit or Heisman Trophy winner could ever be.

“I had no offers coming out of high school,” said Denbow, a backup safety and special teams headhunter for the Indianapolis Colts.

Navarro College offered him an opportunity, and the first day of summer workouts there 220 players for the 5:45 a.m. practice. A week later, 80. When practice started, he was running with the third team. A week later he was on the field with the starters.

After one semester at Navarro, SMU – his grandfather’s alma mater, came calling. He took advantage of that opportunity and started 42 games over the next four years.

Then came the NFL, and his teammates were getting calls from teams before the draft. He did not get any, but the Indianapolis Colts special teams coordinator called afterward.

“He said, ‘I’m not sure about defense, but you can play special teams,’” Denbow said. “I didn’t want to play special teams. But he showed me video of a tackle I made on a kickoff. One play. That’s all it took.”

Denbow signed as a non-drafted free agent contract with the Colts, played in all three preseason games and was active for four regular season games after a stint on injured reserve.

He made it. And his message Friday was clear: do what you must do to improve. Control what you can control to get better.

“Everybody has an opportunity at the next level,” Denbow said. “But you have to start right here. How do you get to the next step? You have to work every day. You can’t just go through the motions. Push each other, challenge each other, help each other.”

The N.O.W. part comes from his first year at Indianapolis.

“Now, now, now,” he said. “We have a guy that says that all the time. For the first two motnhs, I was like, ‘Why is that guy always saying that?’ Every time we were doing something, going to a meeting, going to practice. Now, now, now.

“He finally told us. It means no opportunity wasted. It’s true. I got a shot because I ran down on a kickoff. I thought I had to do something on defense to make it.”

Denbow did regale about the past and had several former Tiger teammates in attendance – first year CHS coaches Caleb Johnson, John Woods, and Ja’Micah Polk. Johnson got emotional telling the Tigers how Denbow led by example, and how hard they worked out together and pushed one another.

During his presentation, Denbow harped on making good decisions. He talked about doing the little things, doing the extra things. He talked about being as smart as you are diligent, included social circles.

“The group of guys I had around me are probably why I’m at where I am today,” he said. “What you surround yourself with now will change the way you think, the way you act. I wanted to be around people that are positive – Caleb, John, Ja’Micah, guys here in this room. They knew what it took to win. It’s hard. It’s a grind…”

“Surround yourself with guys that are going to push you, not guys that are going to hold you back.”

Editors’ Note: All photos courtesy of Xachary Aguilar, CISD Communications.

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