Before Rhamondre Stevenson became one of the NFL's most dynamic running backs, he almost ran out of options.
Academically ineligible to play college ball, the Las Vegas native found himself working at Wal-Mart and Jimmy Johns for a year after graduating from high school. Fortunately for him, his football story didn't end there despite a lack of direction.
To help kids in the same predicament, the New England Patriot will be representing the One Mindset Foundation for the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats initiative to highlight the importance of youth mentorship.
"It was mandatory for me to grow up," Rhamondre Stevenson said of his decision to follow friends to junior college at Cerritos that got him back on the right track. "If I didn't grow up, I wouldn't be here today. So that was very instrumental in me maturing. If I didn't I wouldn't have made it.
Stevenson managed to leverage his time at Cerritos into an opportunity with the Oklahoma Sooners. There, the running back reclaimed his reputation, and in the process, met teammate Chanse Sylvie.
Sylvie went on to create the One Mindset Foundation, and using his NFL platform, Stevenson wanted to shine light on the work his friend does.
"As a kid, I didn't really have any guidance," Stevenson said. "I knew my grades had to be good, things like that, but I didn't have anybody in my ear telling me that constantly. That's kind of what (Sylvie) does – just keeps kids on the right path. He teaches them everything about college, getting in, and just how to better their lives."
The One Mindset Foundation is new, but offers mentorship programs, athletic training, and breakfast and after-school programs for families in need.
It's an organization Stevenson would have benefited from himself, and serves as a great resource for any kid who may find themselves in a similar situation. To them, Stevenson offers a bit of advice.
"Just never give up," Stevenson urged. "It's never over. There's going to be obstacles in the way but just got to overcome those. It might feel like it's the worst part of your time in your life, but as long as you just keep going you'll be good."