Santiago Shows Flexibility in Football and Life

Santiago Shows Flexibility in Football and Life

WASHINGTON — Through Week 4, John Santiago leads the XFL in kickoff return yards and is second for total return yards, but he’s never been known for what he brings to special teams. His journey hasn’t only expanded his game, but who he is as a person.

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

Life is about learning and adjusting. Santiago explains his football career as a roller coaster of emotions.

“It’s definitely been a ride,” reflected John. “Right out of college, I had my tryouts with the NFL. I went to rookie mini-camp with the Vikings and the Falcons. It went well. but I didn’t really fit too well in their scheme. “

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

But adapting is what Santiago has always done best. The Andover, MN native, holds school records for most rushing yards in high school and transitioned his talent to the University of North Dakota where he helped the Fighting Hawks secure their first Big Sky Championship. He says that his experiences at UND helped prepare him for what was to come.

“UND definitely prepared me a lot for this,” Santiago said. “We had our good years and we had our really bad years, so I’ve learned a lot and I’ve really learned a lot.”

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

Learning how to handle adversity and change… After his time at North Dakota and failed NFL tryouts, Santiago headed north to Winnipeg to continue his dream of being a professional football player, only to hit another bump in the road.

“I was up there with the Bluebombers,” said John, “but then I pulled my hamstring, forcing them to let me go.”

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

Santiago adapted – With football still on his mind, he worked as a paraprofessional at Webster school in St. Paul. And made some friends along the way…

“It was a really good situation for me at the time as they understood my situation that I was a football player first, but I really like kids and they really support me down there.”

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

The 3-peat All-Big Sky First Team running back is now a wide receiver for the Dragons

“It’s been going up since there. I’ve been learning. I’ve been drafted as a wide receiver even though I’ve been a running back my whole life, so it’s definitely a learning curve, but I’m just so grateful to be here. “

And it wasn’t just Webster Elementary school that was thankful to the Dragons…

“Believe in me and believe in my talents, not only as a receiver or running back but just a playmaker in general being on special teams and contributing to the team in any aspect that I can.”

(Jamie Council, Reporting)

Showing his flexibility as a person and a football player.

Santiago and the Dragons travel to Houston this weekend and are back in home action at Centurylink next on March 15th when they take on the LA Wildcats.

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Jamie Council
Jamie Council
Reporter -- Emphasis on Seattle Dragons XFL coverage

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