Bobby Skinner has been waiting a long time for opportunity to knock.
Perhaps the time is now.
“I can’t believe it; it’s still not registering in my head,” said Skinner, a Clifton resident and defensive tackle. “I will give it my all to make the best of this opportunity that I am blessed with.”
Skinner was a key member of New Dorp’s varsity as a senior during the 2002 season, when he received all-city and all-state mention, was a Fugazzi Award finalist and played in the Empire Outback Challenge and The Governors Bowl.
Nonetheless, his path to Giant camp this weekend was long and winding.
Skinner who dropped out of New Dorp late in his senior year, moved in 2004 to Massachusetts, where he earned his General Equivalency Diploma. From there, he enrolled at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., in 2005.
His stay at the Missouri school was short as moved back to Massachusetts in 2006 to raise his then newborn son Bobby Jr.
Skinner worked in a juvenile detention center, until returning to Staten Island in 2010 where he worked himself back into physical shape to attend Montclair State.
It’s a long shot for any undrafted free agent to get invited to a camp, let alone make a team. It’s an even longer shot when that free agent is Skinner’s age and played Division III ball.
Nonetheless, the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder got the call this week from Giants football operations coordinator Matt Harris that there’d be a spot at the camp.
“I plan to fulfill my dream since I was a kid,” Skinner told the Advance by e-mail, “the chance to play in the NFL.”
Skinner, who was eligible for this year’s NFL draft, has been waiting since the end of April for a phone call from any NFL team inviting him to camp.
To get ready for the physical demands of an NFL camp, Skinner has been working out with the guidance of trainers of Demarco Gym in New Jersey since the end of the college season.
The gym hosted a combine for Skinner, that had several NFL teams in attendance including the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers.