TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – In 2016, Peyton Barber took a big risk. He gave up his last two years of eligibility at Auburn University, hoping to get drafted to the National Football League.
“It was definitely a tough decision. I feel like at the end of the day I made the right decision,“ Barber said.
Although he left school for the draft, he didn’t get drafted.
Barber is now a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rod Carter sat down with him after practice this week at Advent Health training facility to talk about his risky move.
“It was definitely a scary feeling. But you know one thing I live my life by is the scripture in Philippians. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,‘” Barber said. “So just believing in that – I have it tattooed on my chest – you know, that gave me the strength right there. Just having faith.”
That faith paid off. He had another shot, getting added to the practice roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I was on the practice squad for two days and it was an injury and I got moved up and I never looked back,” he said.
And for three years, he’s been working hard to make an impact.
But the reason he gave up his college career and planted his foot in the unknown in the first place was for his family. More specifically, for his mom. At the time, she and Barber (when he wasn’t in school) were living with his sister and her three children in an apartment in Atlanta
“She never even told me she needed, but I feel like that was the best thing for her and for me. You know I love my mom and going through what we went through growing up, I wanted to reward her at the same time,” Barber said.
But what about school? Well, every single moment he was not on the field, he spent going back to Auburn trying to earn his degree.
And he did.
He took part in graduation ceremonies a few weeks ago. Although he still has one class left, he walked across the stage. When fall graduation occurs, he will be busy – marching across the field for the Bucs.
His advice to young people?
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you, you can’t do something or something is too hard,” he said. “Just because something is hard and challenging doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”
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