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Penn State Football: Lehman Goes From Pizza To Pro Day For One Last Shot

by on March 20, 2015 2:00 PM

It can be difficult to let go of a dream. To put so much work into something and still fall short.

Few things can be harder to handle that the realization that your dream may never materialize.

But for former Nittany Lion Matt Lehman, a quest to find a home in the NFL isn't done yet. He knows the odds and he knows that he has been out of the game for over a year, but he has nothing to lose.

Lehman's journey has been a long one. The 6-foot-6 tight end tore his ACL in the season opener against Syracuse in 2013. From there it has been rehab and recovery. Last year he attended Penn State's Pro Day but nothing came of it except a prediction that he might just be working in a grocery store a year from then.

Twelve months later, he wasn't too far off.

"I've been working at a pizza shop in Newport," Lehman said smiling.

"It's been a long road, but I never really gave up on football," he said. "I always thought I had the ability and size and wanted to come out and give it one more shot."

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All things considered Lehman had a solid day, posting 21 bench press reps and a 4.84 second 40-yard dash. His vertical leap improved by a few inches to 33 and his broad jump was even better with a leap of 9-feet-11 inches. Everything he did was faster, higher and farther. Now he will wait and see what happens next.

As always, Lehman is all smiles. There is a quiet comfort found in knowing that you're a long shot. Players working out with him face a big chance to improve their already highly-critiqued stock. Lehman simply goes out, does his testing and if they like what they see he gets the opportunity of a lifetime.

So, okay, maybe not entirely stress free.

"I just hope they can see there's potential there," he said. "I might be a little rusty but the more I work at it, the more opportunity I'll have to improve and get back to what I was."

And if the call never comes, Lehman will make his way back to Newport and see what life holds for him there. He won't be making you a pizza though if you visit, that's a skill set he hasn't acquired just yet.

"I'm just the counter guy," Lehman said laughing. "I don't have those types of skills. Those guys work hard in the kitchen."

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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