Three years ago, Jon Halapio was selling used cars while worried that he may never live out his dream of playing for the NFL.
Now — thanks in part to the support and assistance from Mike Alstott — he’s the odds-on favorite to start at center for the New York Giants, according to the Bleacher Report.
The journeyman spent the early years of his career bouncing around various practice squads as well as playing for an experimental football league. He briefly played with the Patriots, the Broncos and the Cardinals but once he was cut from that team, the St. Pete native returned home and expected another pro team to call right away. That call did not come.
Regrets as Motivation
“To be honest, looking back now, I deserved to get cut,” he says. “I didn’t empty the tank. Looking back, I wish I would have done so much more.”
But since he wasn’t ready to give up on the NFL, Halapio continued with his 90-minute workouts before heading to the car dealership and then he’d hit up the gym for another round of cardio after dinner with his family.
In late spring 2016, he began working out at Northside Christian High School under new head coach, Alstott, who knew Halapio’s family and had coached his younger brother at a different high school. Alstott recognized his determination and passion for the game and wanted to help.
“It probably ended up being a little unfair to my high schoolers, because when ‘Halo’ came around, I put everyone through the hardest workouts I could,” said Alstott, who is in the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor.
He reportedly put Halapio through grueling workouts and before long, Matt Parker, the Northside offensive line coach who also coached Halapio in high school, was teaching him all about the art of playing center.
Add an agent to the mix and it wasn’t long before the Giants called.
Halapio spent the 2016 season and early part of 2017 on New York’s practice squad, and as reported by Yahoo, earlier this year, he signed a one-year $555,000 contract to remain with the team for 2018.