Three years ago, Rams rookie Ethan Westbrooks—who was just named to St. Louis' 53-man roster after going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft—was working at a Toys 'R' Us in California and playing football for Sacramento City College. But he hated his job and desperately wanted to do whatever it would take to make a real run at playing in the NFL. So he quit his gig, rededicated himself to football, and got a tattoo on his face. And the most important step that he took might have been the tattoo.
During a recent interview with ESPN, Westbrooks explained that he got the tattoo because he wanted to make the NFL his only option. He knew that there wouldn't be a lot of places that would be willing to hire him because of his tattoo. So he used the tattoo as motivation to work hard to try and make it to the NFL.
"I was just like I might as well go ahead and get it on the face because, if nothing else, it will help motivate me to either be a guy that has a tattoo on his face looking for another job or hopefully I make it in the NFL and don't have to work too hard to do something [else]," he said. "I don't feel it's a bad thing now. I don't regret it. It speaks for itself."
The tattoo, which is located under Westbrooks' left eye, says "Laugh now, Cry later." And while it took more than just the tat to make the Rams roster this season—Westbrooks went on to star at Division II school West Texas A&M before joining the Rams—it's clear that the tattoo did work in motivating him over the course of the last few years.
Westbrooks' only problem now? Making sure that he makes the Rams roster for three or four more seasons. Because while he's got a job at the moment, undrafted NFL free agents don't make a whole lot of money in their first season. So Westbrooks is going to have to continue to motivate himself in order to stick with St. Louis. The good thing, though, is that all he needs to stay motivated is a mirror.