LONG BEACH - On a weekend where hundreds of players are being drafted into the NFL, Long Beach High School honored one of its own football stars. Unlike those who heard their names called this weekend and walked across the stage in Chicago, Tramaine Brock went about becoming an NFL veteran the hard way.
After starring at Long Beach High from 2002-2005, and later for a national champion at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Brock transferred to Minnesota and then back south to Belhaven.
Unselected in the 2010 draft, Brock caught on with the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad but quickly worked his way onto the active roster.
That was six seasons ago and Brock is still making his way in the NFL.
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"I think about it all the time," Brock said Friday of his unique road from the NAIA's Belhaven to the NFL. "I never take it for granted. I started at Long Beach High and then worked at a junior college and then I got suspended and went to Belhaven after Minnesota. I took a lot of back roads and got there and made it.
"It's just a blessing to be where I'm at right now."
He later continued: It's a dream come true. I live it every day and take advantage of it every day and don't take it for granted."
As the first player from Belhaven to appear in the NFL, Brock wasn't given anything. He appeared in just three games his rookie season in 2010, but has made 11 or more appearances four out of five seasons sense.
"I had to fight because if not I would have been back in Mississippi off the roster," Brock said. "I have to do that every year."
Brock has recorded 122 tackles and 10 interceptions in his career. Last year was arguably his most successful, with 53 tackles and three interceptions.
"You have to work hard and when you get the opportunity you have to take advantage of it and just keep on going and pushing and never look back," Brock said.
The Long Beach administration took the ceremony, where Brock's No. 1 was retired, as an opportunity to hammer home that hard work can lead to big things.
"I know everybody here has a dream," LBHS coach and athletics director Forrest Williams told the gymnasium full of students. "... I want you to understand that the road may be hard, but if you have that dream and continue to work hard you will have some kind of success. Nobody has ever worked hard for anything, looked back and regretted that hard work they put in."
Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie was also in attendance and issued a proclamation naming April 29, 2016 Tramaine Brock Day.
"I think something that every student and especially athlete should always take a look at Tramaine and his route and where he is right now and the journey he's taken," he said. "In many cases it wasn't easy. He had to keep plugging and keep plugging just like at his position right now in the pros. Nobody just called him up and said 'c'mon, boy, here's your big contract.'
"He went out there and worked and worked and worked and got him a contract and got a spot on the team."