It’s not very often that a fifth-round draft choice comes with as much intrigue as Niles Paul. We learned that he is the nephew of former-NFL running back Ahman Green. We learned he’s a budding male model (train-tracks and all). And perhaps most importantly we learned that he’s a talented, self-motivated football player.
But sometimes that drive and motivation is based on deeper emotional scars that fuel the fire. The Washington Examiner’s John Keim wrote an excellent piece on how the memory of his late mother, Marjorie Paul, continues to motivate Niles:
Nine years later Marjorie Paul’s son, a fifth-round pick by the Redskins in April, pushes himself hard, in part by the memory of his mom.
“He’s always been driven,” said Ted Gilmore, his receivers coach at Nebraska who now holds the same position at USC. “From a competition standpoint, he was way beyond his years as a freshman. He wasn’t intimidated by the older guys. He is a tough SOB. He won’t back down from a fight.
“I don’t care how many vets [the Redskins] have at receiver, Niles Paul is not going to take a back seat to anybody.”
After a traumatic time when so many people would understandably lose focus, Paul learned how to push himself harder:
“Just a real tough time,” said Paul, who has a tattoo of his mom on his right arm. “I used my anger in a positive way where my brothers used it in a negative way. You’ll see I have a fearlessness about me. I take joy in hitting somebody. I use my mom as the driving factor in my life. It was a bad situation that molded me into this angry person. I play angry.”
“I don’t think that’s something you just get over,” he said. “I think about my mom every day. It was a tough time and I doubt I’ll ever forget it. It was a learning experience. Now I strive to make her proud.”
On the field, Paul will obviously never lack the motivation to succeed. He’s talented, he’s motivated and he’s definitely not someone to count out of the competition at receiver.
Off the playing field, however, Paul has a good sense of humor and can really tell a story. He’s going to be fun to follow if he runs into situations like he did with Nebraska linebacker Will Compton:
I guess Paul better become more skeptical if he’s going to make it through the NFL rookie hazing.
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