SEATTLE -- Prior to the Seattle Seahawks' second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night, running back Troymaine Pope chatted with his 3-year-old daughter, Cassidy, who had a request.
"She called me before the game, told me she wanted a playroom full of toys," Pope said. "So I’m trying to go out here and get it for her."
Pope, an undrafted free agent out of Jacksonville State, was the Seahawks' leading rusher in their second preseason game, carrying 10 times for 86 yards and a touchdown.
As recently as a few weeks ago, friends and family were urging Pope to consider alternate career paths. He attended an orientation for a factory job near his hometown of Anniston, Alabama. Pope didn't want to give up on football, but he had a daughter to think about.
"[The Seahawks] called me, and I just broke down crying," Pope said.
"I was working at a car factory, working on cars and putting tools and stuff together for cars, something like that. But it was just something I didn’t want to do. ... It was hard labor. I really didn’t want to work the job, but I had to provide for my daughter, so I was willing to do anything for her.
"I’m never going to move on past this game. This is something I love. My family was trying to convince me to get a job, but I took a long time to even attempt for a job because I knew this was what I wanted to do."
Pope is still a long shot to make the roster. Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael are in line to be the Seahawks' top two backs. The team also spent three draft picks on running backs -- C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks.
But part of the preseason is about getting quality reps on film. If Pope doesn't make the roster, maybe he has a chance for the practice squad -- whether it's with the Seahawks or another team.
"I really thought we saw some stuff in practice that showed us the special quickness that he has," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He’s very elusive. He has a good burst and a good sense. I went right back after watching him and the kind of yards he made in high school. He had some huge years in high school, and he had a really big year his senior year in college. He’s made a lot of touchdowns and scored a lot of points. It was exciting to see a young guy come through like that."
The Kansas City Chiefs gave Pope a look in the spring but didn't see enough from him to offer up a spot on the 90-man roster.
He was asked after Thursday's game whether he's had a chance to reflect on the last month of his life.
"I don’t want to look back on it," Pope said. "I just want to continue to strive towards my dream. That’s all I’m going to continue to do is work towards my dream."