Inspiration to millions of people around the world; Super Bowl XLVIII Champion; The First Deaf Offensive Player in history of the National Football League; Fullback and Special Teams Standout of the Seattle Seahawks. Off the field, Derrick uses his charisma and celebrity to encourage individuals with similar challenges to pursue their dreams, despite obstacles that inevitably arise. Derrick exclaims, “They told me that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t live my dream. But, I’ve been deaf since I was 3, so I didn’t listen!”Derrick is a “hero” or icon to millions of people around the world – he accomplished this through faith, hard work, dedication, and a refusal to listen to his critics. Derrick has had severe hearing loss since the age of 3. Without the assistance of hearing aid devices, he can only make limited sounds. At Troy High School in Fullerton, CA,
Derrick first earned playing time by using hearing aids in combination with hand signals and lip readings from his teammates. And. there were skeptics that said he wouldn’t go any further. Derrick became a star. He didn’t listen.Recruited by the likes of Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans San Diego State, and many other programs, Derrick chose UCLA, where rushed for over 1,100 yard in his final two seasons with the Bruins, scoring 11 touchdowns in his senior season alone. Even after running a 4.4 seconds forty-yard dash at 6 foot, 230 lbs and impressing NFL scouts at his Pro Day – Derrick was not selected. Once again, criticism arose regarding his disability. He didn’t listen.Derrick signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, so he can play running back.
However, with the unexpected miraculous return of Adrian Peterson, there was not room for Derrick on their roster. Later in 2012, Derrick signed with the Seattle Seahawks for the practice squad. Derrick showed his potential and signed on to return to the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. He impressed in the 2013 preseason opener. Derrick was superb during the entire preseason, and Head Coach Pete Carroll and Running Back’s Coach Sherman Smith rewarded him with the starting fullback job on opening day – beating out Pro Bowler Michael Robinson.
Derrick made history by becoming the first deaf offensive player to play in the NFL.Even after an injury “hamstrung” him for a few games, he returned to star in his special teams and fullback roles. And, in Super Bowl XLVII, his special teams play was instrumental in helping the Seahawks win its first World Championship and was recognized by well-known journalist Peter King.