Nothing came easy for wide receiver Chester Rogers. The Colts rookie grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and had to fight his way up the hard way.
A walk-on at Grambling State, by his sophomore year, Rogers led the team in receptions.
“I came in, I walked on my freshman year. My first two years, I was paying out of pocket, getting student loans. I just worked my way up to be that guy in college coming from nothing.”
His fate continued when he came into the NFL. The Colts acquired Rogers as an undrafted rookie. And just like in college, he earned his way onto the roster. It wasn’t an easy road, but it prepared him well.
“I guess it just prepared me for my situation now, being an undrafted free agent, it prepared me for this.”
Now, he wants to help other players struggling with the same circumstances.
“Going through my situation, I just knew how hard it was. I just want to help and give those guys hope because being a walk-on, you face a lot of odds and a lot of people don’t believe in you. I want to let them know I believe in them. Just because you’re a walk-on doesn’t mean anything based off my story.”
On Saturday, Rogers returned to Louisiana with his family and a big check for the Chester Rogers Perseverance Scholarship Award he established for non-scholarship football players at Grambling State.
I remember talks with my family about moments like yesterday..I genuinely find happiness in helping others who deserve it.. I remember having to walk on the team at Grambling having all the odds against me, paying out of pocket and getting student loans for 2 years.. So once God blessed me enough to be in position to help somebody in need it was no brainer. I immediately told my folks I wanted to start up an annual scholarship fund to pay tuition for a well deserving walk-on player who displays high character on and off the field , perseverance, has to have a 2.5 and higher GPA , comes to work willing and able to do whatever Coach Fobbs and team needs him to do to win games.. I will be selecting the winner before the spring semester starts.. Huge thanks to my family, my marketing agent , Bro. Bradford , President Gallot and the wonderful crew over at @nbcsports for helping me make my vision come true.. This is only the beginning it's only gonna get bigger and better, we gonna keep inspiring and changing lives! "The Chester Rogers Perseverance Scholarship Award"
“They’ve got to do an essay, they’ve got to have the credentials, 2.5 GPA, character on and off the field. I’ll be paying for their spring semester coming up in hopes of them earning a scholarship in the fall,” he says. “And that’s going to be annual. I’m going to do it every year.”
Returning as an NFL player puts Rogers in elite company at Grambling State.
“Everybody looks up to you – it’s humbling,” he says. “I want to be able to inspire others. We have other former NFL players, current NFL players in the league.”
And if Rogers has his way, there will be more every year.
From Huntsville to Grambling State to the NFL, Chester Rogers climbed his way up to the top of the game.
And now, he’s extending a hand to help those coming up behind him.