Giorgio Tavecchio's Journey to the NFL Needs Its Own Movie

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  • By Ralph Warner
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"You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow." - Marshall Mathers circa 2002.

Though Eminem is no doubt a legend on the mic, he was wrong on "Lose Yourself." Raiders' kicker Giorgio Tavecchio is just the latest example of how persistence and dedication are two essential traits for success. Tavecchio got his first shot at making the NFL back in 2012, but did not make his professional debut until Sunday's Raiders-Titans game. The 27-year-old rookie had quite the opener, making all four of his field goal attempts, including two from 52-yards out and setting a franchise record for most points scored in a debut (14). Head coach Jack Del Rio completed Tavecchio's amazing day by giving him the game ball.

"I've been dreaming about this moment for a very long time," Tavecchio told Raiders.com. "Special. I'm feeling gratitude, catharsis, there's a kind of duality to the moment. You spend so much time waiting, hoping, imagining it, dreaming it, and then what it happens, it's not necessarily anticlimactic, but you can't be too caught up in the moment for what it means to you."

The Italian placekicker signed to the Raiders practice squad last Friday, and by Sunday he was on the field in place of Sebastian Janikowski who was out with a back injury. Tavecchio's signing and subsequent debut happened in 48 hours, but his entire journey has been a grueling five-year process.

Tavecchio went undrafted in 2012 and has the saddest pro day story you will ever read about. He's been to six training camps -- 49ers (2012), Packers (2013), Lions (2014), and Raiders from 2015 to 2017.

So many athletes would've given up after several roadblocks, not Tavecchio though -- his story of perseverance has gained him lots of fans beyond Raider Nation.

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