Sterling Moore's journey to the NFL is testament to his commitment to fulfilling a dream.
Now that dream has Moore in the Super Bowl as the New England Patriots' safety.
Moore, who got spot duty during the season and finished with seven tackles and two interceptions, made the play of the postseason in a sense when he knocked a potential touchdown pass out of the arms of Baltimore's Lee Evans in the AFC title game.
"I don’t think about it," Moore told reporters this week at the Super Bowl, where the Patriots will play the New York Giants. "I think there’s a lot of plays that helped us get here. [Brandon] Spikes’ interception and the way Vince [Wilfork] played that game; I’m just glad I had an opportunity to make a play."
Moore's road to the Patriots and SMU, where he played college football, started in California.
He played at Laney Junior College in Oakland, and after being named a California All-JUCO selection, hr accepted a scholarship to play for Hofstra in New York.
"It was about four years ago, I was working at Best Buy and playing junior college football at the same time," Moore said. "Four years have gone by fast. It’s been a long road and I’m grateful for the opportunity."
But Hofstra terminated its football program and Moore went to SMU. He suffered a knee injury his senior season but still had a goal of making the NFL.
Moore, who went undrafted, signed with the Oakland Raiders practice squad but was cut after a few weeks.
"I was just hoping I’d get another opportunity," he said. "I called [SMU coach June Jones] as soon as I got cut and he told me not to worry about it and that I was good enough to play in this league. I’m sure he put some calls out, which has something to do with me being here. All I needed was an opportunity."
In early October, Moore signed with the Patriots practice squad. He was cut, re-signed to the practice squad again and then moved to the active roster in Week 10 after safety Patrick Chung injured his foot.
After that, he remained on the active roster and became a contributor.
"It’s been a roller coaster," Moore said. "I just try not to think about it right now, especially with this game Sunday. It’ll be something I’ll think about definitely after the season and kind of reflect on how I got here. But now I’m just looking forward to the Giants."