LIer Chasing NFL Dream

Former St. Anthony's star Scott Vallone to attend Detroit Lions rookie minicamp.

Scott Vallone has been running the scoreboard during St. Anthony's girls lacrosse home games. Photo Credit: Jason Molinet.
Scott Vallone has been running the scoreboard during St. Anthony's girls lacrosse home games. Photo Credit: Jason Molinet.
Did you go bleary-eyed watching three days of the NFL Draft?   

You could excuse Scott Vallone for having more than a passing interest. The former St. Anthony’s High School and Rutgers University football star has the credentials of someone destined to play on Sundays.   
But on the final day of the draft, the point when Vallone might most likely be picked, the Central Islip native spent much of April 27 hidden away in the St. Anthony’s press box running the scoreboard during a girls lacrosse game.   

The draft’s seventh and final round came and went without the 6-foot-2, 281-pound All-Big East defensive tackle’s name being called. Vallone knew that might happen. Yet what happened next was even more disheartening.   

NFL teams made a mad scramble to pick up undrafted free agents in the hours after the draft. No one called Vallone’s agent (Drew Smith) for him.   

“The biggest question is my size,” Vallone admitted.   

The dream is far from over. Vallone has gotten two big calls since. One week after trying out for the Miami Dolphins, the Long Islander flew to Detroit Thursday to take part in the Lions’ three-day rookie minicamp, which begins Friday.   

“I played as well as anybody [in Miami],” Vallone said. “I’m more determined than ever to make it in the NFL.”   

Vallone, who played in 50 games at Rutgers, finished his senior season sixth on the team with 50 tackles, but led the way with 12 stops for a loss. He registered 2.5 sacks and recovered one fumble.   

All Vallone did at St. Anthony’s was earn CHSFL defensive player of the year in 2007.   

“He’s one of the best we ever had here,” St. Anthony’s defensive line coach Larry Broesler said. “Nobody worked harder. Look at his record at Rutgers. Talk about production.”   

Only one free agent from the 50 the Dolphins invited to their minicamp was eventually signed, according to Vallone. So he knows the journey that lies ahead won’t be short or easy.   

Just don’t expect him to stop chasing his childhood dream. He’s spent an entire career running down faster, more athletic players. This latest challenge is no different.    

“I’m not going to give up the dream,” said Vallone, excited for his latest opportunity in Detroit. “If I have to play in Canada or Arena ball before I get to the NFL, then that’s what I’ll do.”  


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