Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs rookie Robert Herron owes debt to Dashon Goldson

TAMPA — It wasn't long after the Bucs drafted receiver Robert Herron when the sixth-round pick shot a text message to past acquaintance and new teammate Dashon Goldson.

"You've got cleats coming your way ASAP," Herron said.

Herron has a 4-year-old promise to keep.

• • •

Growing up in gang-ridden south central Los Angeles, Herron didn't have much.

His dad was in jail. Herron played pee wee flag football because his mom couldn't afford tackle leagues. He never had to sleep on the streets, but he didn't always have his own home.

Soon after he got to high school, his mom couldn't care for him anymore. Herron connected with a cousin through MySpace and showed up at the door of a pseudo-aunt he had never really met.

He had nothing but a backpack of clothes and pair of shoes.

"That was it," said his aunt, Kathy Hales.

Hales threw Herron into sports to keep him out of trouble. In the first track meet he ever ran, Herron blazed through 100 meters in 10.6 seconds.

He started getting serious about football in the summers, when he'd call or text one of his high school coaches, Ivan Stephenson, to ask for a ride to the gym or an 8 a.m. workout.

"I just wanted to see the kid have a chance," said Stephenson, who now serves as Herron's manager.

Stephenson used his connections to take his pupil to train alongside pro athletes to make his NFL dreams more tangible.

And that's where Herron first met Goldson.

The fellow Los Angeles native had just finished his rookie season with the 49ers and was doing offseason conditioning when he saw a teenager working out. The kid was small but fast, and Goldson remembers his drive.

"I just knew he was out there training for a purpose," Goldson said.

Then Goldson glanced down at Herron's feet.

"He's trying to chase his dream," Goldson said, "and he's doing it in tennis shoes."

And that wasn't acceptable. NFL dreams require NFL equipment. Goldson went to his car and came back with a new pair of black and white Nikes.

Goldson gave the cleats to Herron, who thanked him with a promise: When I make it big, I'll return the favor.

Herron didn't need the shoes for long. When he arrived at Wyoming a few months later, the Cowboys gave him a new pair. The ones Goldson gave him have been torn up and lost.

But the shoes helped carry Herron down his road to the NFL. The drills he ran in Goldson's cleats in the summer of 2010 prepared him to make an impact as a freshman receiver and running back at Wyoming despite an academic issue that kept him from joining the team until fall camp.

His versatility and 303 all-purpose yards in that one season under then-offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo must have left a strong impression. Arroyo, now the Bucs' quarterbacks coach, helped encourage Tampa Bay to draft Herron with its final pick.

Herron has a chance to make an impact as a rookie as a slot receiver or punt returner. He spent time doing both over the weekend at the Bucs' three-day rookie camp.

He has already chatted with Goldson in their locker room, and the All-Pro safety gave the rookie some advice: Don't get too emotional, and keep doing the things that got you here.

"It's crazy that we're on the same team right now," Herron said. "From looking up to somebody, now you're playing with him."

And now that they're peers, Herron knows exactly what he has to give to make good on a 4-year-old promise.

A pair of black and white Nikes.

Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com or on Twitter at @MBakerTBTimes.

Bucs rookie Robert Herron owes debt to Dashon Goldson 05/18/14 [Last modified: Sunday, May 18, 2014 8:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener

    Blogs

    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.

  2. Stop expecting Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp

    Bucs

    Here's the problem when it comes to Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

    Photo from National Pediatric Cancer Foundation The crowd cheered wildly for cancer survivor Joshua Fisher, left, and Tampa Bay Buc Gerald McCoy at the 14th annual Fashion Funds the Cure on May 6 to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation at Port Tampa Bay Terminal 2.
  3. Orioles Buck Showalter's Trop takedown includes bullpen mounds, bathroom options, bladder problems

    Blogs

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of the Trop, and after Monday's 5-0 win he — with some prodding from O's TV man Gary Thorne — took a few more shots during their MASN interview, specifically about the location of the bullpen mounds, and the lack of bathroom facilities.

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of Tropicana Field.
  4. What a perfect USF football season would and wouldn't mean

    College

    TAMPA — USF held its first fall practice Monday. A mere technicality. It's mind-bending how many people think that USF, sure to be ranked in the preseason Top 25, is going to throw down a 12-0 regular season with the schedule placed before it. This from a team that has never won a conference championship in its …

    The hiring of Charlie Strong, shown here, cente,r with USF president Judy Genshaft and athletic director Mark Harlan during his introductory press conference non Dec. 15, 2016, is one of several reasons for the Bulls' high football expectations this season.  [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 31-40

    Footballpreps

    Wesley Chapel High School running back Dexter Leverett (6) runs the ball past Hudson High School offensive linebacker Cody Sutphin (8) during the second half at Wesley Chapel High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on Oct. 8, 2016. Wesley Chapel won the game 39 to 34