Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FSU's Travis Rudolph trying to overcame father's death, make Giants team

New York Giants' Travis Rudolph talks to reporters during NFL football rookie minicamp, Friday, May 12, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) NJJC103

New York Giants' Travis Rudolph talks to reporters during NFL football rookie minicamp, Friday, May 12, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) NJJC103

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A Florida State wide receiver who warmed hearts by sitting with an autistic school child at lunch last year is attempting to overcome his own adversity and make the New York Giants.

It's not going to be easy for Travis Rudolph.

His father was fatally shot in a freak accident at work in mid-April. The following weekend the junior who had left school to enter the NFL draft went undrafted and signed with the Giants. His father's funeral was last weekend.

Now the free agent faces the task of trying to make a team that already features receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall.

Rudolph started chasing his dream Friday, joining other rookies and free agents in a minicamp.

The soft-spoken Rudolph was remarkably in control in discussing what he and his family have gone through in the past three weeks.

"It's not difficult at all," Rudolph said. "This is what I have dreamed of doing. I know my dad is looking down at me, smiling at me right now for this opportunity."

Darryl Rudolph was the reason his son started playing football. They started throwing the ball around in their Florida home town when he was around 4 years old. He was there for every game, eventually seeing his son lead the Seminoles in receiving the past two years.

A week before the draft, Darryl Rudolph was doing some handy-man repairs in a nightclub when a man in an adjacent room dropped a gun. It discharged and struck and killed the 55-year-old Rudolph.

"Yeah, it was tough. I cried, I couldn't believe it, but God makes everything happen for a reason," Rudolph said. "Like I say, you just have to move on."

The NFL draft came the following weekend, but Rudolph insists he wasn't disappointed by not getting picked. His father always told him to stay focused, to work hard, believe in himself and make his own dreams come true.

Rudolph isn't even worried about his competition.

"Man, it is a challenge everywhere," he said. "I am confident in myself regardless of that fact. So I don't care how many receivers are on the team or how many good receivers are on the team."

Rudolph knows he has some supporters, starting with his family and Bo Paske, the autistic child with whom he had lunch last August. The videotape of that encounter went viral on social media and Rudolph picked up 10,000 followers while he was at practice that day.

"Him just telling me that he loves me and just saying that I am his friend forever just put a smile on my face, exciting him and his mother," Rudolph said.

Rudolph and Paske have kept in contact and the youngster attended his draft party.

Several teams tried to sign Rudolph after the draft, but he chose the Giants. That's partly because he remembers their Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, including David Tyree's incredible helmet catch in the 2008 game.

The Giants also have a history with undrafted free agents, with the most recent being Victor Cruz overcoming the odds to make it.

"I definitely have a chance," Rudolph said. "I know that they have great receivers, but I feel like I am a great receiver as well, so I have confidence in myself to make this team."

The last month has also taught him something about himself.

"Just overcoming adversity," he said. "That is all that it is. Not being drafted and losing my father the week before. You just have to overcome adversity and prove everyone wrong."

FSU's Travis Rudolph trying to overcame father's death, make Giants team 05/13/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 12, 2017 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.