It was a moment Adam Gotsis will never forget.
“It was crazy,” he says. “The phone rang and you could hear a pin drop in the room because everyone just went quiet.”
Gotsis looked down to his phone and underneath the 10-digit number read “Denver, CO,” he immediately thought, “I’m going to be a Denver Bronco,” but he was the only one in the room that knew that.
“They actually thought I was going to the Panthers,” he explained with a laugh of the others in the room. “I’m on the phone and (the TV screen) says ‘The pick is in” (for the Panthers) but it’s a bit delayed. They were like, “Oh he’s going to the Panthers!” Everyone had their videos on the TV and stuff and I’m like, “No, it’s not them!”
Of course, on the other end of the line was John Elway telling the Aussie big man that he was, in fact, the second-round pick of the World Champion Denver broncos. So, as the real pick came across the screen a few moments later, Gotsis got to share the moment with his older brother, who flew in from Australia just two days before, his two younger sisters, who had been in for about a week and a couple of his friends from Georgia Tech, where Gotsis played his college ball.
A special moment with a special group but it’s hard to ignore the names missing from that group—Adam’s parents, Louis and Doxy Gotsis.
“Yeah, they’re still back home,” he explains with a wistful smile. “Mom and Dad wanted to come over and it would have been awesome to have them here but my grandparents aren’t doing too well health-wise so they kind of have to look after them a little bit. They live across the street from us back home so they have to stay back there. At the end of the day, family is family and that’s the most important thing.
“We were going to set up the live-skype and try to do it that way but, you know, with the time difference and stuff it just didn’t work out,” he added.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time the distance or the time difference have made things difficult on the Gotsis family. As Adam was lacing up he cleats before a game at Georgia Tech, his family would be vigorously searching the web for a stream of the game, often times at 2 or 3 AM local time in Australia. Recently, they spent three hours trying to find a stream of his pro-day, only to see his bench press.
On draft Saturday, though, there was no worrying about finding a stream, Louis and Doxy headed over to the local pub around 9 AM, joined by Adam’s other sister, and a band of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Needless to say, as soon as Gotsis hung up on the number from Denver, the next call came from a much more familiar number, one from Melbourne, Austrailia but the screen just read, “Mom.”
“She was emotional, to say the least,” he said with a chuckle. “I was on the phone with her and my sisters were in the room with me crying and I’m like, ‘Why are you guys crying? Be happy!’ I think they were just so excited for me. They’ve seen all the hard work that I’ve put in and it’s finally paid off. I’m just glad that they’re happy, at the end of the day, as long as they’re happy I’m doing something right.”
As the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder in the family was overcome with elation, the rest of his family was overcome with emotion, remembering the long road that led to that unbelievable moment.
“They were just so happy to see that it’s all finally working out,” told Gotsis. “All the sacrifice and just coming over here by myself, grinding and not having a place to go if I want to go home for a weekend, not having thanksgiving. I’m staying on campus by myself while everyone else is going home to their families. All those moments that I’ve sacrificed where I could be with my family, I’ve done it for something else and it’s finally paying off.”
Adam Gotsis made the sacrifice of leaving home, Doxy Gotsis made the sacrifice of letting her son go, “When I’m so set on something, she’d be the type of woman that would just let me do it, as long as it makes me happy.” He went off and made her proud.
A projected contract of just under $4 million should go a long way towards increasing the number of yearly visits up from one but, four years later, Adam Gotsis knows they don’t always have to be there to be there.
“No matter what happens, good or bad, they’re always going to be there.”
8,759 miles separate Adam’s hometown of Abbotsford and Denver, add in some twists, turns and bumps in the road and it’s been one heck of a path to the NFL for the Broncos second-round pick.