Philip Blake’s story has been well-covered.
The Baylor offensive lineman grew up in Canada, playing one year of high school football — his senior year.
Immediately he knew it was the sport for him.
But getting to play it at a Division I college was quite a process.
“It’s a long story,” Blake smiled.
He started by playing two years at Champlain Regional College in Quebec, Canada, and got recruited by Baylor Head Coach Art Briles and his staff.
The NCAA clearing house didn’t accept his high school and Canadian regional college grades, so he thought going to a school without football for a semester — University of Houston-Downtown would allow him to transfer to Baylor.
But he wasn’t academically eligible to play at Baylor, so instead he spent a year-and-a-half at Tyler Junior College in Texas, graduated and then joined the Baylor Bears as a 23-year-old sophomore.
“The funny thing is I wasn’t even the oldest on the team,” said Blake, now 26.
As the lineman said, it’s a long story, but he doesn’t mind telling it.
“It’s my story, so I don’t get tired of it,” he smiled.
After all that, Blake is now a Denver Bronco, and he’s been lining up at center during the team’s rookie minicamp. He doesn’t know if that’s where he’ll line up once the veterans join the fray, but he said he’s happy to play wherever the coaches want him.
“He has played multiple positions, so he understands offensive line play throughout,” Head Coach John Fox said after the 2012 NFL Draft. “I thought he was an excellent pass protector as far as when he got his hands on you, you weren’t going very far.”
The mild-mannered Blake said he flips a switch when he gets on the field — “I guess you can say I change,” he said, — and he’s anxious to start playing alongside quarterback Peyton Manning and the rest of his teammates.
“I try to stay humble through it,” he said. “A lot of my friends or ex-teammates always tell me, ‘You played with RGIII (Robert Griffin III) and now you’re possibly going to play with Manning,’ but I don’t think about it too much. Just trying to do my job here.”