A struggling American football player has landed a job in the Canadian Football League using old-fashioned perseverance and a new-media strategy: He used Twitter to relentlessly @-mention people in the league until someone finally gave him a chance.
Demetrius Crawford, 25, was once a standout, speedy running back at Montana State University who dreamed of playing in the NFL. But he’s undersized by professional standards. He went undrafted in 2008.
Crawford ended up playing for the Indoor Football League, a mostly unknown independent American professional league, but was released in spring 2010. He then set his sights on the CFL, which has a faster game pace than American football and is generally considered to be the next-best thing to the NFL.
Angela Iuvale, a CFL fan who keeps a popular Twitter feed that aggregates news about the league, told the Daily Dot via email that Crawford “systematically approached” CFL reporters and employees via Twitter, sussing out which teams would be most interested in a player like him.
“This guy is as tenacious as they come,” she said.
Crawford started following Iuvale in August. Soon she tweeted out a YouTube clip of his college highlights, with the message “Check it out Peeps. Demetrius looks "made" for the #CFL!”
The video made the rounds enough on Twitter that it caught the attention of Corey Chamblin, the new head coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who signed Crawford Friday.
It appears Crawford has been using the Internet to get a second chance for quite some time.
A year ago, an Internet commenter using the name Demetrius Crawford posted an enormous comment on a blog post written by Jerry Glanville, a coach for the United Football League, another unglamorous independent professional American football league.
“Coach Glanville,” the comment reads, “I was #1 RB for Montana State University. Hopefully you remember that. I been trying to get a shot somewhere as of late to continue playing football. … I know you guys havent had any set workouts or anything, but ill gladly attend.”
Apparently, Crawford was known for his tenacity and positivity even as a college player.
“He was a tough little shit,” Bill Lamberty, Montana State’s assistant athletic director of media relations, told the Daily Dot. “And always had a great smile. He was one of my favorites.”
Photo from Twitter