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Steelers

Penn Hills grad Hester realizes NFL dream after being drafted by Raiders

| Friday, May 5, 2017, 11:30 p.m.
Toledo defensive tackle Treyvon Hester rushes the line in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo won 63-20. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Toledo defensive tackle Treyvon Hester rushes the line in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo won 63-20. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Penn Hills graduate Treyvon Hester, a defensive tackle at Toledo, talked with the media at the NFL Combine in early March.
Tribune-Review
Penn Hills graduate Treyvon Hester, a defensive tackle at Toledo, talked with the media at the NFL Combine in early March.
Toledo's Treyvon Hester competes against Maine during the 2016 season.
Toledo athletics
Toledo's Treyvon Hester competes against Maine during the 2016 season.

After Treyvon Hester finally got the call, all he could do was reflect on the road he has taken to reach the NFL.

He couldn't forget those who were most influential for him.

The Penn Hills graduate and Toledo product had to wait until late Saturday afternoon on the final day of the NFL Draft to find out he was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round with the 244th overall pick.

“It's a great feeling. It's something I expected that I could do my whole life. It just took extra hard work and dedication. I needed to put my mind to it to accomplish this dream,” Hester said.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle will join two other Penn Hills alums in the NFL — Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Jaguars safety Barry Church.

“I'm a sleeper pick. Not too many people know about me or know where I come from or know my story. For where I was drafted, it was just a blessing for my city, my hometown and where I come from,” Hester said.

Hester, who finished with 39 tackles and five sacks in 10 games this season, was surrounded by family and friends at his family home as he received word from the Raiders.

Hester stayed patient through the late rounds as he initially got word from the Raiders they had a couple of picks in the sixth and seventh rounds and had plans of using a pick on Hester.

“It was a great opportunity for me to get the call and for my family to enjoy this moment. For my dad (Anthony) up there in heaven, he was able to see that too. I know he was proud of me,” Hester said.

“My dad is the person who put me in the pads and took me to practice when I was younger. I know he is more proud than anybody on this green earth other than my mom. I want him to rest in peace and let him know we made it.”

Hester was unable to participate in the NFL Combine while recovering from a December surgery to repair his labrum. However, Hester did have a workout that was attended by 13 teams, including the Raiders.

“While everyone was training and getting ready for the combine, I was still trying to get the full range of motion back in my shoulder,” he said. “But my mindset was more focused and clearer than ever. It allowed me to focus on getting myself better, and it honestly made me tougher.”

Hester will look to bring his blue-collar attitude out to Oakland as he works to earn a spot on the roster.

“Coming from Pittsburgh, you watch the Steelers growing up and you hope you can go play for an organization built like that,” Hester said.

“To be able to become a Raider is even better. The black and silver is something that I love, and I'm ready to put my heart out there and bleed for those boys.”

Even though he is focused on the job at hand, Hester is excited about the prospects of meeting Oakland native Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch.

“The one person I would like to meet is the big dog, Marshawn Lynch. He's from out there. He's an Oakland guy,” Hester said. “He's a veteran. He knows how to last. He knows the ins and outs of the game. His background and my background is kind of the same.”

Another Penn Hills and Toledo alum, wide receiver Corey Jones, had hopes of being a late-round draft pick or signing an undrafted free agent deal with an NFL team. Initially, Brown agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday evening. However, the Browns pulled their offer back a couple days later.

Jones is mulling other offers to continue his football career, including in the Canadian Football League.

Andrew John is freelance writer.

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