Nate Stupar and his journey disputes any notion of the road to success in the NFL being an overnight type of ordeal. It's the exact opposite, and Stupar's story of how he became a Falcon exemplifies the reality of what most who choose this specific profession will endure.
The Penn State product comes from an athletic family who taught him the value behind competition. Stupar's uncle is a retired NFL quarterback and his older brother played for the Buffalo Bills for a season as a tight end.
"We were always in each other's faces, pushing each other, but also having fun," Stupar said in an interview with Atlanta Magazine.
Drafted in the seventh round in 2012, Stupar began his professional career as an Oakland Raider. The linebacker was cut two weeks after being drafted and was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles on the practice squad. Stupar finished the regular season in Philadelphia and was then quickly picked up by San Francisco to become a member of the 49ers' practice squad.
After two practice squad stops, the Jaguars were awarded Stupar on waivers. Despite leading Jacksonville in tackles on special teams in the preseason, Stupar didn't make the final 53-man roster.
The following day, on Aug. 31, 2014, the Falcons signed Stupar and added him to the active roster. Since that day, Stupar has made his mark in Atlanta.
Stupar understands and appreciates his opportunity; driving him to go to work everyday knowing how quickly the opportunity could be taken from him.
"I work every week like my job's on the line," Stupar said to Atlanta Magazine. "Which it is."
The attitude and mindset is already in place for Stupar, and his 2015 season statistics prove he has what it takes.
The State College native led the Falcons in tackles on special teams with nine and saw time on defense for the Falcons. He finished with 30 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and one tackle for loss and played 259 snaps, according to PFF, the most of his career.