Penn Hills product Treyvon Hester grateful for opportunity with Philadelphia Eagles | TribLIVE.com
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As Treyvon Hester entered his second year in the NFL, he was hoping to make the opening day roster for the Oakland Raiders.

The Penn Hills product thought he was in the clear after making the initial 53-man roster. But, Hester received word from the Raiders on Labor Day they were releasing him to make room for defensive tackle Brian Price.

He stayed patient, motivated and encouraged that he would find a new home in the NFL.

Later that week, Hester received word through his agent the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles expressed interest in signing him to their 10-man practice squad. The move became official Sept. 8.

“I want to come out here and make these guys better, get them ready for our opponent and make myself better every day. As soon as I learn the playbook, I will take it from there,” Hester said.

“I have a great opportunity to come here and learn from some veteran guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Mike Bennett and Haloti Ngata. There’s a lot of veteran presence here so I can sit here and pick their brains and see how they lasted this long.”

Hester, who is a 6-foot-2 and 304 pounds, was a seventh-round draft pick out of Toledo in 2017. In his rookie season, Hester played in 14 games, including one start against the Cowboys in mid-December.

The defensive tackle made 19 tackles during his rookie season and made eight tackles, including a sack, during this preseason for the Raiders. Hester was grateful for the experience provided by the Raiders to play a game he has loved since childhood.

“It was a great experience being picked up by Oakland. I was able to carry out my childhood dream and being able to go out to California. I never had been to Cali before. It was a great experience to go down there and be part of that organization,” Hester said.

The 2012 Penn Hills alum and Wilkinsburg native was a second-team All-MAC selection at Toledo during his senior season.

Hester believes he has become more of a student of the game and learned to take the fundamentals and smaller details more serious. Hester had Khalil Mack, an all-pro pass rusher, and veterans Bruce Irvin and Justin Ellis to show him how to prepare properly at the NFL level.

“Honestly, I’m just happy to live the experience. Coming from where I come from in the innercity of Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg, it’s a hard-nosed and tough town,” Hester said.

“Not many make it out of there so to be able to make it and do what I’m doing is a blessing itself. I’m taking it all in. I’m happy and grateful for every opportunity I get. I’m going to keep working like I do and like we all do.”

The experience of trying to make a NFL roster is very difficult and requires a tough-minded individual to handle the highs and lows. Hester credits his support system for allowing him to have a positive outlook on achieving his dream.

“It has been a fight. I’ve strapped these gloves on and I’ve been swinging,” he said. “I can’t be more proud of the family that I have and the supporters that I have supporting me and have supported me throughout the whole journey. I’m just grateful.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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