Towson University isn't known as a football factory that produces a ton of NFL talent.
But the image of the football program changed thanks in part to Jermon Bushrod, who recently retired from the NFL after a 12-year career. Bushrod, an offensive tackle, was a fourth-round draft pick in 2007. At the time, Bushrod was the first Tiger to be drafted in 13 years and the highest draft pick in program history.
Since then, two more Tigers have been drafted: running back Terrance West (2014) and defensive back Tye Smith (2015). West was drafted in the third round, the highest a Tiger has ever been taken in the draft.
Bushrod, a native of King George, Va., is proud to have helped pave the way for football players to be noticed at Towson.
"I'm from a small town in Virginia. I went to Towson. You're not really supposed to go to the NFL from Towson, especially back when I went there," Bushrod said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Sept. 5. "... The fact that guys can look at me and draw some inspiration, it's a pretty cool feeling."
Bushrod, 35, played for four different teams throughout his career, most notably the New Orleans Saints, for whom he played from 2007-2012 and again in 2018. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints in February 2010 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012.
Had he been asked on draft day whether he expected to have the career he did, he would've thought that was crazy.
"I didn't see it in my future, I'm not going to lie to you," Bushrod said. "When I got drafted, I didn't even see me getting drafted. It was a conversation that changed my life at Towson that had me looking forward for the opportunity just to get in the league."
It took two seasons for Bushrod to get his chance, starting 14 of 15 games during the Saints' Super Bowl-winning 2009 season. In total, Bushrod played in 145 games, starting 128.
Sometimes, good things come to those who least expect it. Even though he knew there was a tough road ahead of him, Bushrod kept a positive outlook and it paid off.
"I always told myself that if I could just stay there, if I can get my foot in the door, I'm gonna work," Bushrod said. "Once I did get my foot in the door and I got the opportunity to get on the field, I was like 'OK, I like this feeling.' That kept continuing to push me more and more."
One of the main reasons he retired was to spend more time at home with his family; he has a fourth child on the way. Because of that, now was a better time than ever.
"My heart's always with my family, but football is such a major role in my life. As a competitor and where I've been over the last 12 years, my heart is always gonna be in it," Bushrod said. "I just don't have the motivation I used to have to get better to go play football. ... It's just something that came over me."
As for life after football, Bushrod plans to take some time off, but he does help run the Vizualize & Rize Foundation, through which he supports youth sports and education programs in area. Long term, he's been entertaining the idea of going into coaching or broadcasting.
"A couple people have told me about the broadcasting thing, that I sound pretty good on TV. I'm starting to give it a little more thought," Bushrod said. "Coaching is something that really intrigues me because I've had certain coaches that believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. ... If I can have that impact on another life, that would really fill my heart."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Towson Athletics
To hear more from Bushrod, listen to the full interview here: