It’s first and foremost a football camp poster, with details on the Sixth Annual DeShawn Shead Football and Life Skills camp at Highland High School Saturday.

It’s when you look a little closer that another reality becomes obvious.

This poster could just as easily be the face of the Antelope Valley in the 21st Century.

Sherri Tatum brought her family to Palmdale seeking a better life.

Her son, DeShawn, still had the odds against him, growing up without a father and amid the increasingly unsavory influences of the street.

An All-Golden League standout with the Bulldogs, somehow he wasn’t recruited by any Pac-12 or Mountain West Conference teams.

So he went to Portland State, where he was an All-American.

But still, he went undrafted by the NFL.

At that point, lot of kids may have given in to bitterness, to conspiracy theories, and packed it all in.

DeShawn Shead wasn’t like a lot of kids. 

Most kids, really.

He’s always been more about gratitude than attitude.

He turned to patience and perseverance amid the tough times.

And sure enough, tough times didn’t last, but a very tough young man did. 

He flourished.

Inactive for 23 of his first 27 weeks on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad, Shead was suddenly promoted to the active roster after a rash of injuries at Thanksgiving.

He played in every Seahawk game the rest of the way, making the tackle on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII in the Meadowlands.

Shead became the Seahawks’ special teams captain in 2014, again making the opening kickoff tackle in the Super Bowl.

He noted in at cornerback, and rang up five pass defenses against the explosive Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Than came that nightmarish playoff day in Atlanta.

Shead was shadowing elusive Falcons slot receiver Taylor Gabriel, and his knee suddenly disintegrated without warning.

Many thought he would never recover.

He recovered well enough to earn a free agent contract from the Detroit Lions.

Again, a major injury threatened to ruin everything.

It threatened the wrong guy.

D-Shead was a contributor at cornerback for Coach Matt Patricia’s defense.

Detroit put Shead on injured reserve at the end of the season, and opted not to re-sign him,

So Shead who turns 30 on June 28, hopes to catch on somewhere to play his eighth NFL season this fall.

Once again Saturday, the Shead The Light Foundation will brighten young Valley lives.

Its founder will be walking the walk, not talking the talk.


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