Kerby Joseph was elated when his phone finally rang Friday night and it was Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes.
“The conversation was amazing. I always wished for this moment… so for me to fulfill this milestone in my life,” Joseph said. “I’m just so filled with joy and I’m just so happy. It’s hard for me to talk right now because I just want to dance and scream and do a backflip.
Joseph and friends waited more than three hours until his name was called just after 11 pm Friday, during the third round of the NFL Draft. When Holmes called the former Jones High star, he forgot all about how much he had wandered around the Kissimmee vacation home his family had rented for his draft party.
The Lions made the University of Illinois safety the No. 97 overall selection.
“I wasn’t getting crazy. I didn’t lower my self-confidence. I didn’t lower my self-esteem. I didn’t lower nothing,” Joseph said of the wait. “I feel like it just motivated me. I just know we’re all going to be on the same field at the same level, so … I have to give my all … not even 100% but more like 1,000% this time.”
He had said leading up to the draft it didn’t matter which team selected him, but he was certainly happy to get the call from the Lions.
“You see I got the hat on. I’m so happy, so blessed for this opportunity and so thankful the Detroit Lions gave me the opportunity,” Joseph said. “They believed in me and I feel like belief in me goes a long way.
“If you believe in me, I’m going let you believe in me more than I believe in myself, so I’m going to give them my all.”
When Holmes called, family and friends gathered for the big moment had to be quieted after Joseph waved a Lions hat during his conversation: “Come on, the boss man is on the phone.”
Holmes said, according to Joseph, “Hey Kirby, you ready to be a Detroit Lion? I almost cried. I ain’t going to lie. I almost cried. I was just so thankful for that moment.”
Joseph’s father, Dacius Joseph, who cooked the large Haitian meal for those in attendance, was quite happy for his son, and his hopes were that Kerby remain faith-driven and grounded.
“I feel very great. He go to the NFL,” Dacius Joseph said. “Since he was little boy, he told me he wanted to go play football.
“So now, God make it true. It’s real now. Thank you, Jesus. Without Jesus, it’s not here to be.”
And now Dad will have to change his allegiance.
“I was always Miami Dolphins,” he said, “but now it’s no Dolphins. It’s Detroit Lions.”