John Leglue went undrafted out of Tulane in 2019. He was signed after the draft by the Denver Broncos before bouncing around with the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints, ultimately winding up on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad toward the end of last season. He’s been a part of the organization since, and made his first career start this past Thursday, due to a string of injuries.
It was a huge moment not just for himself, but for his community back home in central Louisiana. He recently spoke to local station KALB about his first opportunity for NFL playing time in recent weeks and his path taken to get here.
“It’s a dream come true. As a kid, you always dream about playing in the NFL, and then once you get to that level, you realize how tough it is to be on the 53”, he said. “Once they told me this past year that they were gonna elevate me to the active roster, I teared up. A lot of hard work’s being going into it, and getting my first opportunity to play a couple weeks ago and then getting my first start, it’s a lifelong dream and I’m just gonna continue to work every day to keep striving to become a better player”.
Leglue started out the season on the practice squad, but was called up to the 53-man roster late last month after J.C. Hassenauer was placed on the Reserve/Injured List, following Kevin Dotson’s move there a week earlier. He dressed as a reserve, then played when B.J. Finney was injured last Sunday, before starting and playing all of Thursday’s game. And it was all the sweeter knowing where he’d come from.
“It’s one of those things where all you need is one opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you’re drafted or undrafted or not”, he said. “It’s the same thing in college. They have some guys who have 85 scholarships coming out of high school. Even if you only have a few, it’s no big deal. All you need is one to get to where you want to go”.
“I feel like it’s kind of the same thing. When Denver came presented an opportunity to go, as an undrafted free agent, I was super excited”, he said about first signing with the Broncos. “My whole family was super pumped. I’m really thankful for my family, my girlfriend, and my brothers. My parents, my grandparents, everybody’s been supporting me through it all, and I’m very thankful for that”.
Of course, his stay wasn’t incredibly long. His stint with the Steelers, about a year, has now been his longest stop in the NFL so far. Once the interior offensive line—Dotson, Hassenauer, and Finney—gets healthy, however, chances are he will be going back to the practice squad.
Unless somebody claims him the way Patrick Morris was poached a couple years ago.