Nick Reveiz waiting on NFL
The old poster in his childhood bedroom provided some early foreshadowing.
The legendary defensive coordinator who coached him for a season provided another sign of where he might end up.
Now that Nick Reveiz is officially a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there's still one pertinent detail to sort out. Will the Tennessee product follow in the footsteps of his boyhood hero and Tampa Bay star Mike Alstott with a switch to fullback or use the defensive knowledge picked up from longtime Buccaneers guru Monte Kiffin and stick at his natural position at linebacker?
"The funny thing is that after Pro Day and the workout at fullback, we heard a lot more about fullback than we did about linebacker," Reveiz said by phone after reporting to Tampa on Tuesday night. "For me, I've always said I would do whatever it takes to get my foot in the door, but my preference is to play linebacker. That's what I want to do, that's what I'm passionate about and that's what I've been playing for five years.
"From what we understood, the Bucs have looked at me at fullback, but (Monday) night when we talked to them they talked about linebacker. That's such a huge blessing. I really feel like Tampa is where I'm supposed to be."
Reveiz still is open to a move to fullback, which would bring him full circle back to his days wearing Alstott's No. 40 in youth-league games. He's certainly more comfortable at linebacker, though Reveiz has also stressed repeatedly since his career with the Vols ended last December that cracking the rotation on special teams will probably be the first step anyway.
Tampa Bay can start sorting out that issue today when training camp finally opens, another reassurance that the lockout and labor issues are truly over after a lengthy period of uncertainty for undrafted free agents like Reveiz.
After getting passed over in April at the NFL draft, Reveiz and players in his situation couldn't have contact with coaches or scouts to get a better feel for what might happen when the situation was resolved. That forced a bit of scrambling and a lot of phone calls for Reveiz on Monday when a deal was reached, and in less than 24 hours he had verbally agreed to terms with the Buccaneers, signed a contract early Tuesday morning, hopped on a plane just after noon to Tampa — and then reported around 5:30 on Wednesday morning for a physical.
But even given the unusual circumstances surrounding his first taste of life as a professional, the signs still seemed to be pointing to one destination all along.
"I can't even describe the whirlwind," Reveiz said. "But you know what's funny? This is a true story, growing up, 10 years old, I had a Mike Alstott poster in my room. You can ask any of my friends, my parents, Mike Alstott was my guy. That was my hero, and he still is. Who knows? That would be a strange similarity. I guess we'll see.
"I think it could be another advantage for me just because I played under Monte, and obviously they have a similar defense because Monte basically created Tampa's defense. It's just a huge, huge thing — I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be."
No matter how long it took to get there, Reveiz never lost sight of the NFL as his destination this fall.
All that's left to figure out is exactly where he's supposed to be on the field now that's he arrived.