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Drafted 82nd overall in the 2020 draft out of Oklahoma University, Neville Gallimore played in all 17 regular-season games for Dallas this past campaign.Photo illustration The Globe and Mail. Source photo Lindsey Wasson/AP Photo/The Associated Press

Unless your name is Tom Brady, opportunities to play in the Super Bowl don’t come around all that often.

Just ask Dan Marino, Joe Namath or Aaron Rodgers, all current or future Hall of Famers, who played in precisely one each over their combined 49 NFL seasons.

But missing out on another chance at one of the greatest showcases in sports isn’t what will be eating away at Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Neville Gallimore this Sunday. Instead it’s the knowledge that the team that was a second seed going into this year’s playoffs – right behind the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers – will look and feel very different when training camp rolls around later this year, thanks to the constant churn of NFL rosters.

“In this profession, I can almost guarantee a team’s going to be a little bit different every year and I feel like just because of how close we got as a unit, especially defensively, I think what we were fighting for was just to keep that brotherhood together for as long as possible,” says the Ottawa native, reflecting on the Cowboys’ 48-32 loss to the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers in the playoffs’ opening round.

“So I think that probably hurt the most.”

Drafted 82nd overall in the 2020 draft out of Oklahoma University, Gallimore, 6-foot-2 and 302 pounds, played in all 17 regular-season games for America’s Team this past campaign, and while he would have hoped to extend his season into February, the 27-year-old will instead be kicking back and enjoying the game like so many millions of others.

“I think most football players, whether you made it to the Super Bowl or not, I’m pretty sure everybody’s going to be tuned in for the most part.”

What is your current state of mind?

I would like to say that the pertinent word is neutral because I’m just thankful for the opportunity that I have and just so grateful for the position I’m in, but also knowing that there’s still so much more out there, so much more to give and gain and looking forward to. So yeah, my mindset right now is neutral, like smooth sailing.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I’ll always say my father first, just for the kind of guy he is and what he’s had to accomplish, and from his growth being a man from Jamaica, and just all the obstacles, trials and tribulations he’s had to overcome. He and my mother, just to put myself and my brothers in the best position to be successful. If I’m going to look to somebody who inspires me, I will say my father.

What kind of person is your father?

He was born and raised in Jamaica. He was a farmer most of his life until coming to Canada. Unfortunately he got sick, diabetes kind of took a toll on him and has been something that he’s been working through for as long as I can remember. But just in terms of his resilience, the impact that he’s made in my life, the lives of our families, and people back home and just from being a stand-up guy. He was a person who did so much for the community that he grew up in, just helping the people around him. And then he was just a man who always had the right information, the right knowledge at the right time to give to those who are ready to receive it and I was fortunate enough that he was my father, so I was able to receive all that information. And you know, take it and use it to my advantage to help me put my best foot forward as I go on this NFL journey.

When and where were you happiest?

Three different moments. Just going through in chronological order; one when I graduated from college and got my degree, I think that was a huge moment, not really for me, but my parents. Second when I got drafted, and I will say third when I got married.

What qualities do you most like in a woman?

My wife is the woman. She just provides a type of love that’s different and so real compared to mine. The way she shows affection, the way that she can do things that money can’t buy, just being that person you can lean on, that voice you can listen to. For somebody who has a tough time showing affection compared to somebody who’s consistently affectionate and somebody who just knows how to be that rock. I feel like one of the most important things or the biggest blessings is not only having somebody you can trust but somebody that can still find a way to love you when you feel like you’re at your lowest or you feel like life has kind of got you by the throat. Having that somebody that you can lean on and be that person for you is great. And you know she’s extremely beautiful and I love everything about her from head to toe. But yeah, I think her personality, just the kind of person she is, somebody that everybody would love to have in their corner. So I’m just thankful that she’s in mine.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My truck, man. I love my truck; it’s my dream truck and I finally got it and set up how I want it.

Tell me more about this truck.

It’s an F350 diesel, eight-inch lift, 30-inch tires. I’m a big truck guy ever since I went out to Oklahoma and being back and forth to Texas. You know, one thing about Oklahoma and Texas – really Texas – it’s a truck state. You see guys on trucks dang near touching the sky, so I became a huge fan of that.

Where in the world would you most like to live if you had the choice?

It’s funny. I’m really low maintenance. I will say I like Texas. I love Texas. It’s a great place to raise family and do certain things. I obviously most definitely am always going to have love for Canada. To be honest, I’ve got a little fun fact. I feel like because of just what I’ve done with football, I’ve actually been able to travel more throughout the United States. But my goal is to just kind of take a major tour throughout Canada. I’ve only really been around Ontario, I know Quebec is right there, Toronto. I know Canada is a beautiful place. And it’s funny, people ask me about certain places and I’m like, man, if people really just knew the land mass of Canada. It’s so massive, there’s so much space, the agriculture, nature and everything. So that’s something on my bucket list and I’ve got to go check out for myself.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

To be honest, I want to say my belly but I can’t say that. That’s my superpower. That’s what I do. I’m in the trenches. There’s nothing I really dislike, I’m the kind of person that always harps on about loving yourself, love the skin that you’re in.

Are you a reader? Do you have any favourite authors?

I just started tapping into The 48 Laws of Power [by Robert Greene]. I listen to that on e-book and I listen to that usually on the way to work out and stuff. I’m not going to say I’m a heavy reader, but from time to time.

What is your motto?

Control what you can control, and for what you can’t, I’m a man of faith, so let God handle the rest. I feel like that’s something that I’ve really tried to really hone in [on] the past couple of years and I feel like that’s helped me, especially from a mental standpoint.

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