Alabama Football: UDFAs should model Damion Square and Wallace Gilberry


All the greatest Alabama Football coaches before Nick Saban thought giving up was a sin. The GOAT likely does as well but doesn’t preach it loudly as Wade, Bryant, Stallings and others did. The three Alabama Football undrafted free agents (UDFA), Dylan Moses, Miller Forristall and Carl Tucker should embrace the same mindset.

It is not easy making an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent, though players do it every season. NFL teams have such small investments in their sixth and seventh-round selections and their undrafted free agents, cutting a player loose is no hindrance.

The odds of making September’s 53-man NFL roster are about as good for the undrafted players as for the late-round selections. Some UDFAs end up having long NFL careers. Long, that is in NFL terms, which depending on the range defined by the Player’s Association or the NFL owners, averages between three and six seasons.

Alabama Football Players Who Beat NFL Career Odds

Several former Alabama Football players could be acknowledged in this post. Two are focused on as longshots who embody the Alabama Football ‘not giving up’ mentality. They are Damion Square and Wallace Gilberry.

Despite making the 2007 All-SEC Team, Gilberry was not chosen in the 2008 NFL Draft. He signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New York Giants but did not make the 53-man roster. Gilberry was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs but played in only two games in 2008. Gilberry played in 48 games with the Chiefs over the following three seasons, but the team did not retain him after the 2011 season. Wallace was with Tampa Bay for three months before being released again.

Two weeks into the 2012 season, Gilberry signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played four seasons with the Bengals making 129 tackles, including 20 sacks. In 2016, he signed with the Detroit Lions but an injury led to his release. He finished the 2016 season and his NFL career with the Bengals. In his 10th NFL season, he signed with the Bengals in 2017 but did not make the team. His NFL career earnings were $11.8 million. Even though Wallace Gilberry was rejected in the NFL Draft and by five NFL teams, he never gave up and had a productive professional career.

The NFL Draft passed on Damion Square in 2013, but he signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles and played in 10 games that season. The Eagles released him and Square made a move to the Chiefs for the 2014 season. After getting no game action with the Chiefs, the team released him seven weeks into the season. He then signed with the Chargers but finished the 2014 season having not seen the field.

Square played six more seasons for the Chargers, appearing in 81 games, including 24 starts. Square did not miss a game in the last four seasons and has a new one-year deal with the Browns. Not including, the yet-to-be-released deal with the Browns, Damion Square has earned $9.9 million playing in the NFL. That is another Alabama football success story, from a player who hung on for almost two seasons (2014 and most of 2015) without getting into an NFL game.

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Dylan Moses, Miller Forristall and Carl Tucker making it in the NFL will depend on them having the type of persistence exhibited by Gilberry and Square.