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Editorial: NFL dream continues for Ridgeland’s Polite

The National Football League dream continues for one of Jasper County’s own.

Two years ago we profiled the rise of Jac’que Polite, a 2011 Ridgeland High graduate, who as a junior earned a spot on the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s first team at NCAA Division II Winston-Salem State.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman then drew the attention of NFL scouts as he finished his senior season as a first-team American Football Coaches Association All-American selection.

The hope of the NFL was the next step.

Polite was not selected during last weekend’s NFL draft in Philadelphia, but he was quickly given a chance to earn a spot on an NFL roster when he agreed to a rookie free agent deal with the Buffalo Bills.

The Ridgeland native was expected to sign with Buffalo on Monday.

We are thrilled Polite’s hard work has given him the opportunity to rise from Ridgeland to have a chance to star on Sundays.

Polite attended Gray Military Academy prep school in 2011 and 2012, and played at NCAAA Division II Missouri Western State University in 2013 before finding a home at North Carolina-based Winston-Salem State.

His journey helped hone his skills, earn him first-team All-CIAA selections in 2015 and 2016, and catch the NFL’s eye.

Being an undrafted free agent doesn’t mean Polite faces insurmountable chances of making the Bills.

Some of the league’s best players were undrafted, including Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Polite said in a Winston-Salem State news release. “Something I’ve always dreamed of as a little boy. Hard work and dedication does pay off. All I have is one shot and one chance. I’m coming to kick the door down. I’m happy for this opportunity but I’m not satisfied; my mission isn’t complete just yet.”

Buffalo, N.Y., is 870 miles from Ridgeland, but we’ll be keeping a close watch on Polite’s progress.

Rookie minicamp begins May 12. The dream could very well become reality.

Good luck, Jac’que. We are rooting for you.

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