Success gives Lima Senior grad Pughsley new set of goals

By Jim Naveau - [email protected]

A year ago, Jarrod Pughsley carried a card with a list of goals on it.

The first goal was to make an active NFL roster. No. 2 was to get on the field during an NFL game. And No. 3 was to be ready when opportunity presented itself.

The 2009 Lima Senior graduate put a check mark behind all three of those items during the 2015 NFL season when he was on the Kansas City Chiefs active roster for five games and played in two of them.

So, what’s next for the 6-foot, 6-inch, 310-pound offensive lineman?

“My goal this year is to work my way into the starting lineup. I want to become a starter and prove they didn’t make a mistake by picking me up,” Pughsley said.

Based on what he has done in the last 10 years, it seems possible he could do that.

Pughsley’s story probably is familiar to most people around Lima. When he was a sophomore at Lima Senior, he was still a JV player in an era when the Spartans’ roster was not overflowing with talent. But by the time he was a senior, he was a first-team All-Northwest Ohio player.

He didn’t get a Division I scholarship offer, though, so he walked on at the University of Akron and convinced the coaches to put him on scholarship. By his third year in the Zips’ program, he was penciled in as a starter but a broken leg in preseason practice sidelined him.

He came back to start two seasons. After that, he became the NFL equivalent of a walk-on when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

He made a good impression with the Cowboys, but they quickly cut ties with him after he suffered a torn biceps injury.

Asked what he learned in his first go-around with the NFL, Pughlsey laughed and said, “How cut throat it is.”

After the injury healed, he signed in November 2014 as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs, who also had contacted him when he came out of college. He was impressive again and was one of the Chiefs’ final cuts in training camp last season.

Pughsley went on the Chiefs practice squad and when injuries cut into their offensive line depth, he was promoted to the active roster in early December.

He was on the roster for six games and active for five of those. The highlight, obviously, was when he got into his first regular-season NFL game when the Chiefs played the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 20 in Baltimore for five plays on the offensive line.

“Taking the first snap against the Ravens was an awesome feeling, seeing it all come full circle – my injuries, being on practice squads for a year and half and then being activated. When the offensive line coach told me I was going in he had a big smile on his face because he knew how hard I worked for it and I had a big smile on my face, too,” Pughsley said.

He also played on special teams in the Chiefs’ final regular-season game against the Oakland Raiders.

Like a baseball player who gets the ball from his first hit, Pughsley has a few mementos from that first game.

“I’ve got my jersey from the Ravens game. I have my home jersey. I’ll be hanging that up for sure when I get a house if I have a man cave,” he said.

Lima Senior gave him something else to hang up in that still un-built man cave when it retired his football number at the Mansfield Senior-Lima Senior boys basketball game on Feb. 20.

The 2009 Lima Senior graduate is the youngest athlete to have his number retired by the school.

“It was early December and (school board member) Dennis Williams sent me a text, saying ‘We’re thinking about retiring your jersey. What are your thoughts?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that sounds great’”

“It was definitely an honor. I was kind of stunned by it. Normally guys get their jersey retired when they’re in their 40s or 50s,” he said.

By Jim Naveau

[email protected]

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

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