It’s the moment all football players dream about. For Avery Moss, it happened in a place he didn’t want to be.
The defensive end from Youngstown State was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He received the call from the team while in a hospital room in Las Vegas tending to his grandmother, who suffered a stroke on Tuesday.
“She’s doing good,” Moss said. “She has shown mass recovery in the last week. She is moving faster than any normal patient really does and I wouldn’t expect nothing else from her. She is a fighter.”
And she was awake and alert when the call came in.
“She is aware and everything like that, and once I told her, she cried and I hugged her,” Moss said. “She knows and she is excited . . . I’m definitely glad that we were able to be here at the hospital [with her] and be able to watch the draft with her and celebrate with her.”
The change in plans for draft weekend from a celebration at home to a bedside in a Vegas hospital is indicative of the path Moss has taken to the NFL. Some of that is a result of his own doing. He began his college career at Nebraska for two seasons before he was convicted of public indecency in 2012 and suspended from the campus for one year.
“I definitely learned from everything,” Moss said. “I attended counseling from that incident and am two years graduated from that.”
The Giants seemed comfortable that Moss has moved on from it as well.
“We think he’s well past those things,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “We’ll definitely keep our eye on that, and if he needs any help with respect to that, we’ll definitely be there to help him . . . We think he has everything together.”
Moss spent 2013 out of school and working at a car dealership in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“I definitely was in a weird space, where I was trying to find myself,” he said of that time.
He hoped to return to Nebraska after the suspension, but they did not allow him back on campus. By that point, his former Cornhuskers coach, Bo Pelini, had been fired and landed at Youngstown State. Moss followed him there.
He played two seasons at Youngstown State and had 13 sacks in 25 games. Now he’s a Giant and likely will find himself as a rotational player with Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon this season.
“I have had a lot of adversity,” he said. “Perseverance is a normal language for me. That is something I’m used to and I just keep going through and keep doing. I’m relentless when it comes to effort. I never want to give up on a play just because it’s never done until the whistle is blown, and I think I can definitely try to assist and learn from the defensive ends that are already there. Just try to add on in terms of a pass rush standpoint, try to make some noise and help New York get to something big.”