Somewhere, Antonio Gates is smiling.
It’s not every day you see non-college football players make their way into the NFL.
However, anyone that stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 250 pounds has the size to give it a go.
That’s the position new Cleveland Browns tight end Marcus Santos-Silva finds himself in.
You won’t find any college football tape on him because it doesn’t exist.
Instead, you’ll discover highlights on the hardwood.
Santos-Silva spent his collegiate career playing basketball, initially at VCU and then Texas Tech.
A few clips of Texas Tech's newest grad transfer, Marcus Santos-Silva (@Marcus7345), v. Dayton this past year. pic.twitter.com/1daBlkMJ0p
— Tech Hoops Guy (@TechHoopsGuy) April 29, 2020
Santos-Silva’s highlights emphasize the physical nature in which he plays basketball.
Boxing out Marcus Santos-Silva doesn’t look very fun. pic.twitter.com/1clg3RGudZ
— Tech Hoops Guy (@TechHoopsGuy) January 9, 2022
With his frame, it’s hard to imagine him playing any other way.
The Browns will be hoping that physicality carries onto the gridiron as Marcus tries to make the active roster.
With such a unique situation, here are some things to know about the newest Browns tight end.
1. He’s Played Football Before
Despite only playing basketball in college, Santos-Silva is familiar with the gridiron.
He played football, tight end specifically, up through his freshman year at Taunton High School in Massachusetts.
Then, per reports, he hit a growth spurt and committed to strictly basketball due to concerns over too many hits to his knees.
He bounced around a few other high schools playing basketball until eventually committing to VCU for his collegiate career.
There’s no tape for NFL scouts to look at football-wise for Santos-Silva.
Even if it existed, they’d be watching middle school highlights. However, per clevelandbrowns.com, Marcus immediately had calls from numerous teams after announcing his decision to pursue football again in April.
With his frame and athleticism, it’s easy to see why teams are interested.
Everyone is after the super athletic, versatile tight end to add to their offense.
If Santos-Silva turns into something in Cleveland, the front office will look brilliant for finding him.
2. He’s a Low-Key Guy
With Tik-Tok stars and social media influencers running wild, professional athletes like to get in on that action.
It’s easy to see why, too, when you see the attention (and sometimes finances) that follow.
However, that’s not Santos-Silva’s style.
Browns fans won’t have to worry about this guy leaking a locker room video and letting it go viral.
Instead, he focuses on keeping it simple.
In a 2018 interview with the Commonwealth Times, Santos-Silva described his lax but caring personality.
“I’m a caring guy. I also talk a lot and I’m a goofy kid. I can’t really take anything serious. I feel like people would like me because of that”, Santos-Silva said. “Mostly I just stay in. I just play video games and just relax.”
Now, that last part is something I can get down with!
Jokes aside, it’s cool to see a guy come into the league with solid ground under his feet.
Of course, the bright lights of professional ball can always change that.
3. He Doesn’t Want to Start
Santos-Silva has reasonable expectations heading into the NFL.
He knows he’s not winning a starting job day one, as he explained via clevelandbrowns.com.
“My goal this year is to make the 53-man roster and be a second-string tight end”, said Marcus. I know the plan is probably having me start on the practice squad, but I’m just going to work and grind the whole time so I can get up there”.
Those are mature words coming from the 24-year-old.
Winning the mental battle in the NFL can be as, if not more, important than the physical one.
Once guys doubt their own career, things get ugly.
That doesn’t seem like it will happen with Santos-Silva.
He knows it’s a step-by-step process to get where he wants to go and he’s putting tangible goals along his path to getting there.
Plus, he’s turned to another former VCU college basketball player, Mo Alie-Cox, who also made a transition to professional football.
“He told me that the thing that would be hard is learning the playbook and learning to block, but once I nail that down, everything else will be all good. That’s going to be my main objective when I get there”.
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