Seton Hill grad following his dream of playing professional football
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Although becoming a professional football player was always Sammy Tranks' dream, his path to getting there started as a nightmare.
In 2005, as a freshman at Edward Warders College in Jacksonville, Fla., Tranks was injured in the opening days of training camp when he was stabbed in his left hip by a blocking sled and needed emergency surgery to save his leg.
Football quickly became the career plan for Tranks, who grew up in Philadelphia watching his older brother, Tony, play for Temple.
“That's really one of the only dreams I've ever had, to be a professional football player,” Tranks said. “It's all I've ever worked for.”
After his injury, he transferred to Seton Hill and got his second chance. But coming to Seton Hill was a time of change.
“It was a culture shock my first year, but it helped me grow as a person tremendously,” Tranks said. “It was a great experience in the end.”
A large part of that was the mentorship of Tranks' wide receivers coach, Lawrence Hogg. He helped Tranks see his full potential as an athlete.
“You always hear ‘football is life,' and we always believe that,” Hogg said. “But ‘football is life' is more than just sports. I saw that he had more to offer than just his athletic ability.”
Hogg urged Tranks to pursue coaching after his time at Seton Hill.
“He cares about the kids and he cares about the fundamentals, you know, the pure stuff about the game,” Hogg said. “In my opinion, that's what makes the best coaches.”
Tranks recently started a Western Pennsylvania-based athletic coaching program called Courage to Continue Training. The name of the program is representative of the attitude and drive Tranks has shown throughout his football career.
“He has had that will to continue through every obstacle and disappointment, and I think it's fueling him to really be able to provide for his family and bring a better future,” Hogg said.
Even with the launch of his training program, Tranks has never given up on his first dream.
After being cut on the last day of camp by the Tulsa Talons of the Arena Football league, Tranks spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He then signed with the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL in September after being released by Toronto following their victory in the 100th Grey Cup.
“At this level, it's rare that guys get second opportunities,” Tranks said. “I've heard so many stories of guys getting released one time from the NFL and never stepping back on the field again. It takes courage to keep going and get that fire going.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Judge lets New Kensington Ten Commandments monument stand
- Consol takes $603 million loss in second quarter
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Leisure, hospitality lead Pittsburgh area job gains
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
- Watering garden right during summer’s high temperatures makes difference
- UPMC, Allegheny Health Network employees win lunch-pay lawsuits