A football player from Morgan State University hasn't played in the NFL since 2013, when tight end Visanthe Shiancoe played one game for the Tennessee Titans.
Offensive lineman Joshua Miles has a chance to end the drought this upcoming season, but with no recent graduates to turn to for guidance, Miles has found
support from former NFL players
and someone he has known his entire life: his mother, Nancy.
"I call her every now and again," Miles told PressBox's
Fantasy and Reality Football Show
March 10. "She has always been supportive and we will just talk, and that kind of calms me."
Miles took up football when he was just 7 years old, when he idolized former Ravens linemen Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Brown Sr.
"I picked that, and I've just always known that was going to be my career field," Miles said.
"I remember my first year playing rec league football, I was in the grocery store with my mom and we were walking around and I said, 'I'm going to go to the NFL. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that,'" Miles recalled. "And she said, 'Not many people make it. It's a far-fetched dream.' And I said, 'I'm going to do it, like I really don't care what the odds are or where we are.' And she said, 'OK, well if that's going to be a thing, you've got to work at it, like
Since that moment, the Western Tech graduate has been steadily working toward his goal of playing in the league. Miles allowed just one sack during his senior year at Morgan State. Miles also became the school's first participant in the annual East-West Shrine Game, an all-star exhibition which features college seniors from around the country.
Miles recently worked out for teams at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, putting him one step closer to realizing his childhood dream. While he was a little star-struck at the icons he got to rub shoulders with -- "Seeing Dan Marino and Andy Reid and Ron Rivera, it's like the Avengers came to Earth!" he joked -- he didn't let the moment affect his focus.
"There wasn't really a moment where I just like sat back and drank it in or was just reeling from my own reality," Miles said. "I really felt like I had earned it. I had a good week at the Shrine Game, I had a great season, I just really felt like I earned it -- like God had me in the situation I deserved to be."
Miles played offensive tackle at Morgan State, but he noted that many teams told him that they envisioned him as a guard in the NFL. Miles found out at the Shrine Game that he may enjoy playing on the interior even more.
"Moving inside was actually really fun. I was really comfortable inside," he said. "I really felt like I could do some damage inside. I'm kind of comfortable wherever, so tackle, guard -- it really doesn't matter. I'm going to get the job done."
Thirty-two organizations will have a shot at drafting Miles this spring, but he has his fingers crossed for his hometown team -- the one that he and his family have always cheered for. One of the Ravens' biggest needs heading into the offseason was the interior offensive line.
"[Playing for the Ravens] would just be full circle, going back to Baltimore," Miles said. "The fact that last year I was going to Ravens games and sitting up in the stands and thinking, 'This is probably going to be me next year.'… It's just crazy, it's like a dream come true. But playing at M&T Bank Stadium -- that would be honestly phenomenal. I would love it. Like, love it, love it."
And if he happens to end up with the Pittsburgh Steelers?
"I'm sure that I might get a couple dirty looks every once in a while at family functions," he said, laughing. "But I'm fine with it."
For more from Miles, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Morgan State Athletics