Oakland Raiders receiver Thomas Mayo at rookie minicamp 2012 (photo by Levi Damien)
If the Raiders are looking for hardworking players, they found one in undrafted free agent Thomas Mayo. The rookie receiver earned the nickname "no days off" for his nonstop daily workout regimen. But there is such a thing as working too hard. And Mayo found it.
"My little brother and my mom back at home gave [my nickname] to me because I was constantly working out," said Mayo. "It got to the point where I was working out too much. I always felt like if I miss a day somebody else is getting better than me. So I was always working out, working out, and then I realized it wasn't good for my body. I'd gotten torn down a little bit. But as far as the working out part, it's always the same."
That workout regimen has gained him a chiseled physique as well as it had the Raiders interested in the Division II star. It is the kind of attention he always thought he deserved from Division I programs in college.
"Every day, I'd turn on a Division I game and I'd say, ‘man why am I not there?' But I just followed God's path and it worked out. First I was at Concord, then went to Cal-PA, just busted my butt working harder and harder. If you're going to come from Division II, then you've got to go over and beyond."
That "over and beyond" may have just had a few Division I schools kicking themselves for ignoring him, but the Raiders wanted to make sure they didn't make the same mistake and signed him as an undrafted free agent. Now he makes the leap from Division II opponents to facing NFL talent.
"A lot of division II people don't get that opportunity and I was blessed to have that opportunity to come out here and compete to try and make the 50-man roster. That's the goal right now, and do everything I can help the team, the Raiders, to win a championship. Go out here on Monday and compete with veterans is going to be a dream. When you're looking at, playing with them, and you play Madden, and they're your teammates and you're going against one another.
"That's everybody's dream. But my head coach told me one time that I have the ability to play at the next level if I do the small things. And he coached a couple of NFL players. When he told me that, it dawned on me, maybe it's going to happen if I work harder. Now I have an opportunity to make it come true."
And for the record, he said he will be taking a day off on Wednesday along with his teammates.