The grind is called “the grind” for a reason.
Typically, you’re doing something you don’t really want to do at the moment. But you do it because you know what the potential reward at the end of the road. You know the process bears fruit, but the process is arduous and filled with obstacles.
Taylor Heinicke has been on his own grind. In between a collegiate and professional football career, Heinicke has been working on his undergraduate degree and now his master’s. He’s into applied mathematics, so you know the guy is smart.
A couple of months ago, the grind paid off, but not in the way you’d expect it to. Heinicke’s studying and hard work in the digital classroom earned him another chance in the NFL. The Washington Football Team was in need of a “quarantine quarterback” and Heinicke was the perfect man for the job.
Little did they know Heinicke would be starting in a playoff game, a game in which Heinicke stole the show.
The former Old Dominion standout put on one hell of a show on Saturday night, leading the Washington Football Team to a near upset over God Tom Brady and the
New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Heinicke balled out, totaling 346 yards through the air and on the ground, scoring two touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but it was a batted ball at the line of scrimmage. Not really on him.
Washington lost, but Heinicke was the winner. I’m sure he’ll still get his master’s degree — and he should — but there’s no way he’ll be out of an NFL job in 2021. Even as a backup, Heinicke has earned a place in the league.
Heinicke hadn’t earned that spot before this season. He’d bounced around with several NFL teams, including a season-plus long stint with the Panthers that ended just before the 2019 season began. This winter with Washington was his first NFL experience since.
His story isn’t over, and that’s something we can all believe in and support. We’re in a divisive time right now and it’s becoming harder and harder to find common ground with people.
But people who defy the odds are people we can rally around and unite behind. They show us the best of what we can be. Washington’s Alex Smith comes to mind. So does their head coach Ron Rivera. Who knew a nameless football team could provide such inspiration.
I know there are times in my life that I could have used that sort of inspiration. I’ve been through the grind — whether it was losing weight or finding a job I could be proud of. I’m sure you’re in the same boat.
Heinicke’s journey teaches us this valuable lesson — the grind is worth it, sometimes in ways you’d never consider.
Here’s to Heinicke continuing to defy the odds and making his way in the league permanently. Even if his career falters next season, his rousing performance on Saturday night will be remembered forever.