By On Deck contributors — Shamika Anderson, Desjanay Banks-Hill, Kalijah Douglas, Jeremiah Ford, Luis Sotelo, and Paul Tafoya 

They say every NFL player takes a different path into the league.

Denver Broncos starting cornerback Aqib Talib is no different.

Screen shot 2015-05-07 at 9.26.43 AMTalib was born in Cleveland, but moved to Trenton, NJ before settling into his high school years in Dallas.

Talib started playing football in 7th grade, and in his very first game, he scored two touchdowns as a wide receiver.

“I really didn’t pick my position,” Talib said. “I wanted to be a running back, but my school already had a beast running back, so they tried me out at quarterback, but I couldn’t throw.”

The reason why Talib took an interest in football is because of his brother, Yaqub, who was “the best one in the neighborhood.”

“He would be the captain and pick his little brother first over all the older dudes,” Talib said. “So I always got a chance to play.”

In fact, whenever Yaqub wanted to practice, he called on his little brother.

“When he needed somebody to throw the ball to, I was there,” Talib said. “He’d go outside and say ‘Come on, bro. Let’s go play catch or something.'”

Screen shot 2015-05-07 at 9.26.53 AMTalib went on to play defensive back at Kansas before being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“When I first got drafted in the NFL, the first thing I did was I build my mom a house in Garland, Texas.” Talib said.

Talib played five seasons with the Buccaneers, two seasons with the Patriots, and he’s entering his second season with the Broncos.

“I’m interested in being the best. That’s what keeps me going,” Talib said. “It’s in my nature to try and be the best at everything I do”

That’s why John Elway ultimately signed Talib. It take a champion to know a champion.

Our journalism class can relate to Aqib Talib because we all get inspired by someone or something. When interviewing Talib and TJ Ward, they impacted us because they showed that they care about us. It was a memorable day that will last a lifetime. As we got to know Talib, we learned that when you want to achieve a dream, you always have to make room for failure just as much as success, in order to learn. That’s how dreams come true.

Purpose2Pay partnered with the T.J. Ward Foundation to give teens from the Boys & Girls Club of metro Denver the opportunity to take part in a six-week sports journalism class, called On Deck, where they learned proper interview techniques and writing skills.