In a way, Thomas Dimitroff Jr. is the Kris Kristofferson of the NFL.
In the late 1960s, aspiring country-music writer Kristofferson patiently waited for his big break in the biz by sweeping floors and emptying ashtrays at Columbia Studios in Nashville.
He watched Bob Dylan record Blonde on Blonde. He stuck demo tapes in Johnny Cash’s hands and those of any other country star who’d take them.
Cash finally recorded one of Kristofferson’s lyrically cutting gems — Sunday Morning Coming Down — and it became 1970’s country single of the year. Kristofferson shot to stardom as an iconic singer-songwriter in his own right. “I was able to quit working for a living,” he has often said.
Dimitroff shares a similarly humble beginning in the NFL. He didn’t empty garbage pails or ashtrays. Rather, he painted yard lines and cut grass.