Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman decided to leave the University of Southern California a year early to pursue his NFL dreams.
While Robey-Coleman went undrafted in 2013, he signed with the Buffalo Bills and established himself as one of the better slot corners in the NFL, earning a three-year extension with his current team, the Rams.
Now he’s earned something more.
Post-practice Gatorade bath
On Thursday, Los Angeles posted a video on Twitter of the moments after the team ended an on-field workout.
“You talk about supporting each other, being happy for each guys achieving big-time things in life,” coach Sean McVay says. “Let’s give it up for Robey!”
The 27-year-old has finished his work and earned his degree from USC; formal graduation ceremonies are May 10.
A pair of Rams lifted a giant Gatorade bucket to dump on Robey-Coleman, and he got fist bumps and hugs from teammates before being led to an equipment cart, where a large cake was unveiled.
Robey-Coleman smashed his face into the confection as everyone continued to cheer.
More than football.
Congratulations @slotgod23 on your upcoming graduation from @USC! 🎓✌️ pic.twitter.com/gujG4Q3HWf
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 2, 2019
Promise to mom
Robey-Coleman graduating fulfills a promise he made to his mother when he signed with the Trojans.
Maxine Robey died eight years ago. In a feature on Robey-Coleman from earlier this year, ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry wrote that two weeks after he signed that letter of intent with USC, Maxine collapsed and died shortly after.
She was just 44, but had been recently hospitalized; she had high blood pressure and a heart condition. Robey-Coleman went to check on her in their Florida home one morning before school and found her on her bedroom floor.
He performed CPR for seven minutes, waiting for paramedics to arrive.
He was persuaded to go to school that day, but his high school coach helped him get to the hospital, where he was met by family — and the worst news he could have gotten.
“It was a moment that I never expected,” Robey-Coleman said.
Robey-Coleman held his mother’s lifeless body for a few minutes, promising to do everything he could to make her proud.
“She knew that I could be more than an athlete because she’d seen something different in me,” he said. “It pushed me to want to do better and want to be better.”