Waiting for a dream to come true is tough. Knowing that a dream is out of your control is even tougher.
“It’s hard trying to keep the football mindset and to stay motivated when there is no funds coming in for training purposes,” said former ACU lineman Tony Washington. “I’m gonna keep fighting and keep lifting, but it’s hard when there are no results.”
Four months ago, Tony heard hundreds of names called for the draft, but not his. Team after team came and went. When all was said and done, his name was left on draft guru Mel Kiper’s Big Board as the second player in any position whose name was not called.
Now, Tony is playing the waiting game. He is hoping for his chance to shine on the big stage. All he needs is one team to give him a shot, but no teams are knocking.
“Nothing is going on,” said Washington. “I feel like Kurt Warner. I’m just sitting around waiting for something to happen.”
With the pressure of fans placed on coaches to get players with clean slates, no team wants someone with a questionable past. What’s done is done, and Tony is putting that behind him. Many others, including every NFL team, still haven’t. But he has a lot of support from many friends in Abilene.
“I think he’s focused to make it happen,” said athletic director Jared Mosley. “It has been and will continue to be an uphill climb.”
Washington carries a 6’6” 305 pound frame to the left tackle position. He is quick on his feet, rare for a man of his stature. His job is simple: protect the quarterback’s blind side, a job he performed so well, many thought he might be drafted as quickly as the second round.
In his two years at ACU, Tony was the rock of the ACU offensive line. He opened up huge holes for Bernard Scott and Reggie Brown and kept the other team away from Billy Malone and Mitchell Gale.
As last year’s quarterback, Gale got to experience the benefits of having Tony’s blocking.
“It was definitely comforting to have big Tony blocking my blindside,” said Gale. “But the other four guys and our running backs played a major role in my security as well.”
Currently, Tony is still in Texas playing football. Over the summer, he was one of three starting offensive linemen for the Dallas Vigilantes in the Arena Football League. The season is only four months long and will never have scores or highlights on ESPN, but to Tony it’s a way to keep his skills sharp.
“I enjoyed playing in the AFL, and I appreciate the Vigilantes giving me an opportunity,” said Washington. “Every experience was a positive one, but it is just hard to wait.”
He now has a season under his belt in the AFL, but that is not his ultimate goal. For now, the league is all Tony has, but he will keep working and practicing, hoping a team will take a chance on a guy who has a lot to prove.
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