Tiquan Underwood scored the winning touchdown in Detroit. His 85-yard connection pushed the Bucs to a 24-21 lead and Tampa Bay made it stick.
But if you were watching Underwood motor for the endzone, you had to think he was not just running to score, but running for redemption, running for respect.
This is a player who repeatedly has to beat the odds, not just once, not twice, but three or four times. That's why Underwood says "in this league we all know you don't get a lot of opportunities, and some guys on this team have been given opportunities due to injury or whatever the reason has been, and guys are really stepping up."
Given up is what a lot of players in Underwood's position might have done. He was a long shot when he was drafted in the 7th round by Jacksonville back in 200. He was cut by the Jaguars twice, and then hooked with New England, he made the team and then got cut, was resigned and then cut again on the night before the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, after the game the Patriots signed him again and then cut him one last time.
He signed with the Bucs and has been cut loose three times going into the Detroit game on Sunday. But he never sounds discouraged, never looks depressed or down, he just keeps working and lives by the simple ethic: "When you're cut, it's part of this business, you can either lie down or continue to work hard and fight. The way I was raised, I just continued to work. I trust in God, I trust in the abilities that he's blessed me with," Underwood says.
Schiano knows Underwood maybe better than any other player on his roster.
"I think Tiquan is an incredible story -- an unselfish, humble guy, who just has persistence. Getting cut by New England the night before the Super Bowl, it's all part of the business, but I am really proud of him because he just keeps coming back. I've known him since he was probably 14 years old, he's just an incredible person," Schiano says.
Schiano recruited Underwood to play for him at Rutgers and he was a success story there -- now, Underwood is proving again that he not only has the talent but the heart to make it in the NFL.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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