The guy worked harder than a Grand Canyon pack mule. Beads of sweat pored off his head, muscles ached, plays were studied, and what it got Kyle McCarthy was a spot on the roster, albeit the practice roster, but it was a spot reserved just for him.
It’s said that luck comes when preparation meets opportunity. Opportunity has come for McCarthy, an undrafted second year safety from Youngstown, Ohio. His luck changed when he was elevated to the Broncos active roster on Monday.
CB Cassius Vaughn was put on the IR after breaking his leg against the Chargers which left two spots open on the team’s active roster. Instead of promoting backup QB Adam Weber (due to Kyle Orton’s departure), the team brought up McCarthy and linebacker Mike Mohamed from the practice squad.
"“Thank you for all the support throughout the last year! Just got signed back to the active roster. Excited for things to come! – Kyle McCarthy (via Twitter)"
McCarthy played in 8 games for the Broncos last season, mostly on special teams, and recorded 4 tackles. In his four preseason games this year, he recorded 6 tackles and 1 sack.
That’s certainly nothing to write home about, but the energy that he brought to the practice field in training camp was unparalleled. He was constantly in on tackles, forcing fumbles, scooping up loose balls, and always around the ball ready to make a play. His training camp play must have carried over to practices during the regular season or else the Broncos would not have brought the safety up.
McCarthy was the first defensive back in Notre Dame history to record more than 100 tackles in a single season. He had 241 tackles and 8 interceptions in his 38 career games with the Irish.
McCarthy expected to be drafted coming out of college, and was a little disappointed when he wasn’t. However, that is why he is such a workhorse now.
"“I’ve always been overlooked a little bit, and I don’t know what it is, if it’s my size or what, but it definitely gives me a little chip on my shoulder to show people that I can play in this league and I can contribute and help a team win.” – McCarthy to DenverBroncos.com"
McCarthy played baseball along with football growing up. In fact his grandfather, Jack Mayo, played for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950s. Mayo was a left-handed outfielder who was best known for his defense. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the proverbial tree, as McCarthy followed in his in grandfather’s footsteps and attended Notre Dame where his defensive abilities flourished.
As the Broncos close out their final five games of the season, McCarthy is just opening the door on his playing career. In his short time in the league, he’s already learned that the harder he works the more luck he has. It’s a lesson that many players drafted into the NFL still need to learn. In that respect, he’s way ahead of his peers.