Dean gambled and proved Ohio State wrong
After spending some time in limbo, former Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean recently re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a four-year, $52 million contract.
Dean, a native of Cocoa, Florida, says that he is happy that he gets to continue playing in his home state.
“I honestly didn’t want to leave,” Dean said after signing his new contract. “I’m born and raised in Florida. I’m close to home. I’m comfortable, so I was like, ‘Why would I leave?'”
Tampa Bay‘s vote of confidence in Dean is a great chapter in his comeback story. Dean suffered two crucial knee injuries in high school, then another before the 2016 season at Auburn. Prior to enrolling at Auburn, Dean originally signed with Ohio State. Due to his knee concerns, medical personnel did not clear him to play, despite getting clearance from renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
He transferred to Auburn in 2015, where he started at cornerback during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Now, he is one of the fastest defensive backs in the NFL despite his history of knee injuries.
“Honestly, I don’t know why my knees was an issue,” Dean said. “I went two seasons in college without my knees being a problem, and then when I ran the 4.30 at the combine, I was like, ‘That should eliminate the knee situation.’”
Dean’s gamble truly paid off, as he has signed his second contract with the Buccanneers. He says that he is thankful that he continued playing football despite being discouraged from his former program.
“I’m glad I didn’t quit because everything paid off,” Dean said. “I proved Ohio State wrong when they told me I had a 3 percent chance of being successful in football. So I took the gamble, and it paid off.”
In four seasons in Tampa Bay, Dean has recorded 193 tackles and seven interceptions. He, alongside fellow former Tiger Carlton Davis, helped the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV.
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