The Times West Virginian

Fairmont State Sports

May 12, 2014

Former FSU standout signs with Colts

FAIRMONT — It all boiled down to Saturday.

Dewey McDonald had realistic expectations when the 2014 NFL Draft kicked off last Thursday night with the first round. He knew he’d either be selected late Saturday during the sixth or seventh rounds or that he’d likely sign an undrafted free agent deal once the draft had ended.

“I knew that I’d done what I could do and I was able to stay calm and relax,” he said. “I think my family members were more stressed than I was.”

Saturday, though,  was just another day for the former Fairmont State and California (Pa.) safety.

He sat, like most draft hopefuls do, with a select group of his family and friends, waiting for the next step in his journey to begin.

“I was just watching,” he recalled. “I was on the phone with a lot of different teams. I was just seeing how things played out.”

As the final picks rolled off the draft board during the closing minutes of the NFL Draft, McDonald knew he wasn’t going to get drafted. But he knew he was going to get signed somewhere. It was just a matter of which situation felt the best.

After fielding offers from teams like Minnesota, Arizona, Miami, Tennessee, Buffalo and Green Bay, McDonald found his spot. He knew his destiny before anything was official.

“I was sitting in the living room,” he remembered. “Just trying to be quiet.”

And it wasn’t too long after the draft had ended that the Jefferson County, West Virginia, native tweeted three simple words which would cement his name into history: “I’m a Colt!”

McDonald had chose to start his football career in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, a team he felt comfortable with.

“I had a visit there and it went great. It was a great organization,” he said. “After talking with (Colts’ safeties) coach (Roy) Anderson, I felt it would be the best fit for me to make the depth chart.”

McDonald is a 6-foot, 215-pound defensive back who will look to make a name for himself at either safety position for the Colts, who currently have six safeties on their roster — most notably Laron Landry, who played for McDonald’s hometown Washington Redskins for five seasons.

While McDonald says he can play either safety position, he’s looking forward to learning from a player he watched for quite some time in Landry.

“It’s going to be a blessing learning from a safety that my game has a similar playing style to,” McDonald said of his new teammate.

Being signed rather than being drafted doesn't matter much to McDonald. If anything, it just adds more fuel to his fire to succeed, he said.

“The only thing that matters is that I’ll have another chip on my shoulder. That’s just more motivation for me,” McDonald explained. “Now I’ve still got to come into camp and make the roster.”

To make the Colts roster, McDonald will bring versatility and speed, having played running back and running track in high school at Jefferson High School. But what will likely help him the most at the next level will be his maturity, his ability to learn and his personality.

Leading up to the draft, Cal coach Mike Kellar said that McDonald was a once-in-a-lifetime player and that he expected nothing less than for an NFL team to be amazed by his character and his work ethic.

“He came (to Cal) as a graduate student and he just did everything right,” Kellar said about a week before the draft. “I said, you know, some coach is going to fall in love with you.”

The signing came just one day before Mother’s Day and, McDonald said, his mother couldn’t have been more happy with the gift of hearing that her son would be playing in the NFL.

McDonald, who played most of his collegiate football at Fairmont State before transferring to Cal for his senior season, was just one of a handful of Division II players to sign deals following the draft, which had seen just one player from his school’s conference — the PSAC — get drafted. To those who will follow in his footsteps next season, chasing their dream of making it to the NFL from a small school, McDonald had some advice.

“Never be satisfied with your game. If you have a dream, set goals so you can get to that dream,” he said. “You’re the only one who has the key to it.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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