KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At Grandview, Freedom Akinmoladun (Ak-kin-mole-la-dum) had the highest aspirations and he reached them, from Nebraska to the NFL. But it was a short-lived career, then the USFL came knocking.

“It gave me a lot of motivation and it gave me a mindset that, you can’t be like everybody. If you want to be normal in the USFL, be happy, be normal, cool. But that’s not what’s going to get you to the next level,” Akinmoladun said.

“The day that I stop working is the day that I’m done, but, until I’m done, I’m going to keep working.”

And work he has. The defensive end for the Philadelphia Stars has 3.5 sacks as he’s taken this second chance to hone his craft.

Akinmoladun knows he has a lot of people behind him and that continues to push him.

“A lot of things are driving me. Back when I was younger, my nephews and nieces, the promises that I made my mom. There are a lot of people in Grandview, who I know, would love to be in my situation.”

“It’s been an opportunity to learn over and over again from my mistakes and to apply better technique. Being able to be strong in the run, that’s one of the main focal points for me, especially in this defense. Also, being able to create havoc in the pass. If I can contribute to the chaos, then other people can make plays.”

It seems to be paying off as his Philly Stars went 6-4 and beat 9-1 New Jersey in the conference final. They are now are in the USFL Championship where they will face the Birmingham Stallions.

He’s motivated to win, even moreso with his team being underdogs.

“Everybody’s not expecting what we believe. In our heart we’re going put up one hell of a performance and come out with a ring on our finger and I might be going down the sideline like Aaron Donald saying, ‘Where my ring at?'”

Akinmoladun is more than ready for his opportunity, hopefully which includes another shot at the NFL.

“100%, 100%, I’m still young, my leg is still working!”