Dothan’s Da’Vonta Ealy, after spending last season with the Washington Redskins as an intern videographer, returned to the field following the team’s final game against Philadelphia and knelt down on the turf.
“I went back to the field before I left for good and just reminisced on where God has taken me, taking it all in,” Ealy said. “Heading off the field I went to the sideline and knelt down. I began praying; thanking God and telling God that if it’s meant for me to be back in the NFL after college, I’ll be more than ready and asking God to make it happen.”
The prayer has been answered.
The 21-year-old Ealy has signed a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans as a video assistant. After filming practice sessions with the Redskins among a variety of duties, he’ll be involved with filming games along with other tasks with the Titans.
“I will get home and away games,” Ealy said. “I’ll be getting paid, so it’s everything I could ask for.”
Still a student at Alabama A&M University, Ealy has one online class to complete this fall in addition to his duties with the Titans. After finishing up with the Redskins last season, he returned to Alabama A&M for the spring semester and took four classes.
“I’ll go back to Alabama A&M on Dec. 6 to graduate and walk across the stage, then I’ll be getting ready for a game that Sunday with the Titans,” Ealy said.
It’s all been like a dream come true for Ealy, who began videoing Dothan High football games as a freshman. He continued the work with the Alabama A&M football team, which led to the opportunity with the Redskins.
“I learned as much as I could,” Ealy said of his year in Washington. “I did everything from filming practices to setting up for the game. On game day, I helped set up the sideline camera. Then I would be controlling the Microsoft surface tablets, which are tablets in the hands of coaches and players. We’re down there with the tablets and they’re watching what they just did when they come off the field.”
Being a part of the operations for an NFL team was an incredible experience for Ealy.
“I enjoyed every second of it,” Ealy said. “Sometimes I couldn’t believe I was down there, but hey, it was true.”
With his internship ending with the Redskins, Ealy applied for an opening with the Titans.
“I applied for the position in the spring,” Ealy said. “I followed up and they said everything looked good, but I ended up not getting the position.
“Another position came out around May. I applied, but didn’t think nothing of it. I figured I would be back in school at Alabama A&M with their football team, being the video coordinator there.
“But I ended up getting a call and the guy (Anthony Pastrana, director of technology) said he had been looking at my resume and application and I was qualified for it.
“It was like another dream come true. It was like an all-over-again process. I thought I was going to be at Alabama A&M and would have to wait until 2020 (to apply for another NFL job).
“I’ll be the fourth guy on the crew. They had three, but they have four now. It’s a one-year deal, so after the season I guess they’ll decide if they want to continue, or if I go to another team.”
Ealy is scheduled to report to the Titans on July 17.
“I have to find my own housing, but I’ve got it made,” Ealy said. “With the NFL, we eat three times a day in a facility – the coaches, players, staff – we all eat together. So I’ll be taken care of with food and everything. The only thing I have to find is an apartment.”
Ealy gives the most credit of his fast rise as a videographer to his Christian roots.
“I want everybody to know that I didn’t make any of this possible,” Ealy said. “It was all God. I didn’t think I was going to be in this situation, but God knew what was best.
“God is great, first and foremost because I’m on track to graduate in 2019 and my last two years of college I get to experience two different NFL teams. God’s plan.”