Daniel's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Operation Roadtrip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Los Angeles, CA

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ

Author / Former NFL Player
Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept

“I hate categorizing it as ‘military life’ vs. ‘civilian life’—it’s life. Everybody has different roads and avenues—it’s life.”

INTERESTS:

Sports Armed Services

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Dedication Exploration Fear Fulfillment Perseverance Struggle Desire Goals Passion Doubt Conflict Societal Pressures Transitions Acceptance Support & Encouragement Community Hard Work Inspiration Individualism Negativity Hobbies & Pastimes Choices Opportunity Risk Education Experience Pride Honesty Character

FOUNDATION:

Being Physically Active

TAGS:

asking for help, change, death, football, helping others, injury, learning experiences, military, moving on, noise, obstacles, perspective, positivity, potential, regrets, resources, responsibilities, responsibility, sacrifice, sports

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When his dad suddenly passed away after his high school graduation, he realized his life was directionless—within two weeks, he’d visited a military recruiter and signed up for the Army.
  • He was sent to Iraq almost immediately; ended up serving two tours of active duty, one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan.
  • While in Afghanistan, he fought in the Battle of Kamdesh, one of the bloodiest battles of the war; he was injured and lost several of his friends.
  • After receiving the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, he was honorably discharged from the military.
  • He went through a period of deep depression, then eventually realized that the best way to honor the lives of the friends he’d lost was by living out his own dreams.
  • His biggest dream was always to play professional football, so he trained as hard as he could for a year, then spent his last dollar on a recruitment video.
  • Clemson University took notice of the video after it went viral and signed him as a walk-on player; he won several bowl games with the school, then briefly played for the St. Louis Rams.
  • Recently sold the film rights to his autobiography, Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept, which was also featured on the New York Times’ best-selling sports books list.

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