Seahawks lineman D.J. Fluker overcomes two natural disasters, homelessness during journey to NFL
RENTON, Wash– We’re putting a spotlight on Seahawks offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and we need a big one for him. He’s six-feet, five-inches tall and 342 pounds.
Even more impressive than his massive frame is what Fluker was able to overcome during his path to the NFL. It’s why he calls himself “The Warrior” on social media.
Fluker said, “For me, ‘The Warrior’ stands for all of the things I’ve been through.”
He’s been through a lot, starting when he was 14 years old.
When Hurricane Katrina breached the levees in New Orleans in 2005, flooding the city’s Lower Ninth Ward, Fluker and his family escaped, just hours before their home filled with water.
“We had nowhere to go,” Fluker recalled. “We were bouncing around from place to place trying to find out where to go. Some days we were sleeping in cars. Some days we’d be trying to find our next meal. That’s kind of how it was.”
For Fluker, it was a time for self-reflection.
“I learned about myself, I was stronger than I thought I was,” Fluker said.
While he relied on that emotional strength, it was Fluker’s physical strength in high school, that got him noticed.
Fluker played in the 2009 Army Bowl on national television as one of the top recruits in the country. He was drawn to one of the nation’s top programs, The University of Alabama.
Again, he would be tested — this time, by a tornado.
“I seen this big tornado, swirling around Tuscaloosa,” Fluker recounted from April 27th, 2011. “I’m stuck. I’m stunned. I’m seeing this big thing in the air going crazy.”
He rode out the storm inside a building on campus. The tornado in Tuscaloosa in 2011 took 64 lives and for the second time in his life, a natural disaster wiped out the place Fluker called home.
Fluker said, “My place was destroyed. I had a (Ford) Mustang on top of my bathtub.”
Many people, after having their homes destroyed by two separate weather events, could consider themselves cursed. Not Fluker.
“I was like, I got lucky,” he said. “I got real lucky. If I didn’t go through that, I don’t think I’d be the guy I am today.”
It’s also changed his approach to the game of football.
“It’s made me more passionate about it,” Fluker said.
He’s also embracing life. He has two young sons and a newborn daughter. He just recently got engaged.
The Warrior, who appreciates how far he’s come, while never forgetting where he’s been.
“No matter what you’re going through,” Fluker said. “You could be homeless, struggling. No money in your pocketbook. It’s about how bad you want something.”