E.A. Sports Today

Chambers pursuing his dream

[corner-ad id=1]Former Cherokee County speedster takes his game overseas, getting ready for his ‘Super Bowl’

Gabe Chambers takes a break during one of his games with the Polish League's Sopot Seahawks.

Gabe Chambers takes a break during one of his games with the Polish League’s Sopot Seahawks.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Gabe Chambers dreamed of someday playing for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, it was more along the lines of the one from the Pacific Northwest in some warm locale with lots of palm trees and hype.

What is it they say about being careful what you wish for? These days, the former Cherokee County speedster is playing for the Seahawks and he is playing in a Super Bowl of sorts, but instead of being in the game of his dreams, it’s some 4,800 miles from home.

His route through the various developmental pro leagues has landed him with the Sopot Seahawks of the Polish League of American Football. On Saturday he’ll be playing in the PLFA-I championship game against the Krakow Kings at the National Rugby Stadium in Gdynia.

“Playing for Seattle Seahawks was a dream of mine coming out of college … but I’m playing for the Sopot Seahawks, which is fine – it’s still Seahawks and it’s still professional,” Chambers said in an email from Poland. “For the finals, I’ll treat it like a Super Bowl game for me, but I won’t do anything I haven’t done in the previous games just because it’s a Super Bowl. I’ll just turn it up a notch and put my team in the best position to win the game.”

Chambers’ road to his current team has had many detours. The journey began when he signed with the indoor San Angelo Bandits but a week before he was scheduled to report he was told the team couldn’t bring him in due to “housing situations.”

His coach there, Joey Longoria, pledged to find him a place to play and sent film to numerous coaches.

He took an offer from an American Indoor Football team in Buffalo over the X-League St. Louis Attack to fulfill another dream of going to New York. During the year he received an invitation to a CFL camp in Florida, but he couldn’t get a release.

About that time a long-forgotten account he opened with a European scouting service when he was a sophomore at Jacksonville State paid off when Sopot head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterback Luke Zetazate called with a chance to play overseas.

“It was like a dream come true,” Chambers said. “At first, I wasn’t sure about it and … two days later I called him back letting him know I was 100 percent in.

“I thought I would be doing this later on in life but not this fast. When I was at JSU and I would tell my teammates I was leaving and going overseas to play ball of course they didn’t believe me because I was a funny person and made everybody laugh, but I transferred to Faulkner and had a great season there and boom I’m overseas like I told them I would be. It’s crazy how everything worked out for me.”

Chambers, a speedy receiver and return specialist at JSU and Faulkner, plays both ways for his Seahawks. The team knows how to exploit his speed, playing him at running back and receiver on offense and in the secondary on defense.

Stats aren’t available to measure his success, but he did score two touchdowns in the league semifinal game — a 56-yard touchdown catch and run and a punt return.

“Stats aren’t really a big thing to me anymore and never was because it is different from the States,” he said. “In the States, some people care more about their stats than getting a W on the schedule.

“Over here as an import you are brought over to win and help other players get better to compete at a higher level, so basically you are a player/coach.”

Whether his play overseas will land him a bigger stage stateside he can’t say. All he can do is be ready if the chance comes. He expects to return to the States in August unless he accepts another overseas opportunity.

“I’m only focusing on winning a title here because that’s what I was brought here for,” he said. “I hope it leads to more opportunities and gives the other teams that slept on me or overlooked me a wake-up call and they will give me an opportunity because that’s all I need. Whatever it leads to, I’m leaving it to the guy upstairs’ hands and following my dream.”

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