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Teré Calloway never afraid to set high goals

Teré Calloway set lofty goals. When the safety was a senior at Seattle Prep High School, he stood in the Seattle Rotary Boys & Girls Club and listed off expectations for his football future. 

Freshman All-American. Jim Thorpe Award finalist. First-round pick.

“I set my goals high,” Calloway said after committing to Nevada. “If I fall, I expect to fall not too far from them, but it’s always motivation. I’m never afraid to set high goals. That’s something I’ve always used.”

For Calloway, though, things didn’t play out as planned. After starting his college career in Reno, Nev., he transferred to Alabama A&M, where he became a standout. But he wasn’t drafted. 

He earned a minicamp invite with Atlanta last season, but didn’t make the team. 

“After the Falcons didn’t sign me after camp, I just kept training,” Calloway said.

“That was my main focus.”

He refused to let the dream die. The 24-year-old was working his way back from an injury, which hampered his 40 time during his pro day. He knew he still had something to offer the game. He believed he was still an elite football player. 

So, he kept training. He worked toward an opportunity. He kept his goals high. But he wasn’t sure how he was going to turn his training into another chance to play football.

“Usually there’s no way to get back in without film and there’s no way to get film other than playing football,” Calloway said. “It’s a catch-22. That’s absolutely the hardest part about it, especially when you don’t have any guaranteed opportunities coming up. It’s hard to still want to train when you don’t know if anything is going to come of it.”

Then he heard about the XFL. He was in Tampa and the league was preparing to host a Summer Showcase event at Raymond James Stadium. Calloway saw an opportunity, but wasn’t sure if he would land an invitation. 

“I had packed my bags to leave Tampa and head back to Huntsville (Ala.), because I didn’t think I was getting an invite,” Calloway said. so “I was going to go back to Alabama and to start my real estate career.”,” Calloway said. 

Five days before the event, as he was packing his car, he landed an invitation. 

“Everything ended up working out,” he said. “It showed that it was worth it for me to keep working and pushing through.”

Calloway is now in the XFL’s Draft Pool. His football career has been given new life. 

“The biggest thing is, first and foremost, being able to put on a helmet, shoulder pads and get paid for it,” he said. “The platform it provides us as football players, there’s just not that many opportunities like that.

“I think the XFL has everything put together well for players like us who are free agents, but have been in NFL camps or on NFL teams and are young – I’m only 24 years old – and still have talent, but have experienced a few bad breaks.”

Calloway’s football journey didn’t lead him where he expected. But his focus is on the opportunity in front of him. 

“I’m truly and deeply in love with football, everything about this game,” he said. “Having the opportunity to put on a helmet and shoulder pads again, to be able to watch meaningful film, to be able to strategize and prepare for an opponent, those are the things I miss the most.

“The XFL is going to be for real, top competition on national TV. It’s just such a blessing to be able to put pads on in a meaningful situation.”

When XFL teams were announced and Seattle was on the list of franchises, Calloway thought it would be fun to return to his hometown. 

“Obviously, with Seattle, I grew up playing with the CD Panthers,” Calloway said. “I played basketball at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club. I ran track for Wings of Eagles. I went to Seattle Prep. In my blood, I am Seattle. I grew up in the Central District, so everything about me is Seattle. It would be amazing to play for the community that, essentially, raised me.” 

But, while Seattle is home, Calloway just wants to play football.

“I’m just happy to be able to play again,” he said. “No matter where I end up, I’m going be extremely excited to get back into that grind and do what I know best.”