MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was a day Selma native LaChavious Simmons says he'll never forget.
The former Tennessee State offensive tackle was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears.
“They were talking to me all day,” said Simmons. “I was like ‘So is it official?’ and (Pete Nagy) was like ‘Is Pig ready to be a Bear?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah Man! I’m ready!!’ It was just exciting. I just prayed and let God take care of it, and he just made a way for me.”
Meanwhile, Montgomery Academy grad Josh Thomas is still in disbelief he is an NFL player after being picked up as an Undrafted Free Agent from Appalachian State by the Buffalo Bills.
“It doesn’t feel real yet,” he said. “When I get to Buffalo or wherever I get to go, I think it’ll really sink in but right now it’s just another day, another beautiful day.”
Although football is the dream, both players say their new role as professional players give them a chance to use their platform to inspire others.
“We have so much talent down in the Selma and Orville area, and guys just don’t have hope anymore. Because I looked up to guy like Ben Obomanu and Michael Johnson, and those younger guys - they don’t know those guys like that. So, once they see me doing what I’m doing, it’ll inspire them to just go after it,” said Simmons.
“I mean, just seeing people in the city doing good. That’s always a good thing. It just lets you know that you can do it,” added Thomas. “I know growing up, just seeing Tavarius Jackson - rest in heaven - just seeing him get to the NFL just showed me that anyone can do it; it’s not an unobtainable goal, and so it feels good giving inspiration back to the city knowing that you can go anywhere in this world, even coming from Montgomery, Alabama. People in the city are doing big things, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Whether they saw they’re name flash across the screen, or got the call after the draft was over, the moment these Fever Country stars became NFL players and role models will last a lifetime.
"It’s amazing. It feels tremendous,” said Simmons.
"I’m excited. I just feel blessed,” added Thomas.