Jesse Holley, Mr 4th and Long as he’s known on Twitter, is getting his big chance with the Dallas Cowboys. Holley won Michael Irvin’s 2009 reality show 4th and Long, which gave the winner a shot at making the Dallas Cowboys team.
Since his win, Holley has been on the practice squad for the Cowboys, but just in time for the Cowboys game against the Vikings on October 17, 2010, he was moved on to the team’s 53-man roster.
If winning 4th and Long, and earning a spot on the practice squad was a dream come true for Holley, this new development can only be described as a much bigger dream unfolding in the absolute best possible way.
In a video interview posted on the Dallas Cowboys website, Holley said “It’s 100 percent ‘want to’… And my ‘want to’ was a lot greater than a lot of people’s.”
Jesse Holley’s NFL journey began after he graduated from North Carolina. He was signed to the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals, but was released in 2007. He then signed with the BC Lions in 2008, and was later released.
Although Holley got playing time with the Dallas Cowboys in preseason games, he never made the cut once the regular season started. Until now that is. His promotion was made possible when the Cowboys cut offensive tackle Robert Brewster.
But it wasn’t the open roster spot in and of itself that gave Holley his big chance. It was his determination, dedication, and commitment to playing hard even on the practice squad that did that for him. Without those, the open spot might have gone to any other practice squad player.
Jesse Holley’s Dallas Cowboys experience sets a great example for, and has a lot to teach anyone with a dream in his heart. The moral of the story: pursue your dream, no matter how far away it seems, and pursue it with vigor, determination, and everything you’ve got, as if it’s just a fraction of an inch away, because it just might be.
And never, ever, give up.
In a story by DallasCowboys.com staff writer Nick Eatman, Holley, who called himself and other practice squad players “alley dogs,” said that the mentality that earned him the promotion won’t go away now that he’s on the team. That’s easy to believe for anyone who watched Holley on 4th and Long, or during the Dallas Cowboys preseason.
On Sunday in Minnesota, a new chapter in Jesse Holley’s NFL fairy tale begins. Dallas Cowboys fans and big dreamers alike will be hoping it’s as “happily ever after” as those that preceded it.
Dallas Cowboys, True Reality Star, Fourth & Long…Complete to Holley, by Nick Eatman
USA Today, October 5, 2007
Canada.com, Lions sign Allen, Holley, May 22, 2008