Commanders LB Nick Temple honing his craft one tackle at a time
By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — Nick Temple won’t beat you with his size.
The 5-10, 216-pound linebacker isn’t the most imposing player on paper. But when the whistle blows, Temple is found flying to the football nearly every play. He knows he is not the biggest player on the field and that is fine. Temple’s speed will speak for him as the San Antonio Commanders continue their second week of training camp.
“I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses,” Temple said. “When I know my weaknesses, I’m going to work on them more to equal a better result out on the field. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
A four-year starter for the Cincinnati Bearcats, Temple was a tackling machine for Tommy Tuberville’s defense. Finishing his senior season with 113 tackles, 10 tackles for losses, three sacks and a pair of pass deflections, Temple believed he’d soon earn a spot on a NFL roster.
But his size played a much larger issue than some would have expected. He would go undrafted, bounced from several NFL rosters before becoming a member of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His size kept him off those rosters as well as he was eventually released in 2016.
When The Alliance first was first forming, Temple was out of football. While still having the fire to play, he was unsure if the league would take a chance on him. Working in education, Temple had become a dean at Paramount School of Excellence in Indianapolis, Ind. Hoping to prove to his students dreams can become a reality, Temple laced up his cleats and headed back to the gridiron.
“It’s not just all about football,” Temple said. “It’s about helping young people grow up and dream as well.”
Under Commanders defensive coordinator Jim Grobe, Temple has grown into perhaps the most consistent linebacker in camp. While working on his open field tackling, his speed and mental processing skills have been a highlight noticed by multiple staff members.
“I like Nick a lot,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “He brings a ton of energy and some unique skills such as his quickness on the edge and his ability to see things in motion and make plays.”
Every night, Temple watches film. He’ll spend hours looking to correct mistakes and grow from the previous practice. But he doesn’t try to invest much time in other linebackers’ film at the NFL level. He’s his own special type of player and would rather be known as number 55 for the Commanders instead of a similar tackling machine at the next level.
“I’ll watch everybody’s craft but I don’t want comparisons,” Temple said. “I’m Nick Temple, that’s it. I try to base myself off of my strengths and weaknesses. I want to do my thing.”
Temple’s life after football is finally set. In years past, he felt lost trying to find a new career path. Now, Temple knows his place is in education both as a mentor and fundraising ambassador for inner city schools.
For now, Temple is smiling in San Antonio. While he hopes to make the team’s final 52-man roster, Temple is glad to be in a locker room where he feels wanted. As the linebackers prepare for practice, Temple is ready for one last shot at keeping his football dream alive.
“I’m just going to keep going,” Temple said. “I forget about the past and just keep going. I don’t let anything that happened in the past play a part into my future.”
The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets