TAMPA, Fla. — For Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard John Molchon, he's always had lofty expectations throughout his football career.
It began during his high school days at Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School in Summerlin, Nevada. During his time there, Molchon was a top player for his school.
Now, it is no surprise a future NFL player dominated during his younger years, but not many have made as much of an impact on his alma mater as he did. After graduation, his former school retired his jersey.
"All the people that helped me make me who I am today, I'm very thankful for them. I'm just a very grateful person that just wants to find ways to get better," Molchon said.
Fast forward to his collegiate career, Molchon continued to play at a high level for Boise State.
He suited up for the Broncos for four seasons from 2015-2019 and appeared in 47 games. In 2017, he was named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention before collecting All-Mountain West First Team honors in each of his final two seasons.
"I've always wanted to be part of a winning program," Molchon said about his collegiate team. "I love the culture there and I love what was being built out there. [They] just had this aggressiveness to win ballgames and to make each player a better person."
His experience with the Broncos is something that he sees every day with Tampa Bay.
Molchon entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He would get his first chance with the Buccaneers in 2020. He spent the majority of his first two professional seasons on Tampa Bay's practice squad. He's also been waived, placed on Injured Reserve and resigned during his time in Tampa Bay.
But heading into the matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 6, Molchon was elevated to the active roster.
That wasn't the first time the 25-year-old has been activated off the practice squad with the Bucs.
On Oct. 30, 2020, Molchon was part of the gameday roster for Tampa Bay. He was also on the roster Nov. 28 of that same season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While the 2020 season provided roster crunches across the board due to the pandemic, there was a different feeling wearing the No. 75 jersey on the sidelines during Sunday's 16-13 win against Los Angeles.
Although he has only been called up on three occasions, Molchon said he remains patient and grateful for his opportunities.
"I'm around a bunch of amazing players and amazing coaches," he said. "I also have a great support staff at home so there's really no better situation to be in. I'm excited for my personal career but all around, the experience has just been amazing."
When he enters each practice session, Molchon said that he makes sure to give it his all because he knows this opportunity can be taken away quickly.
Practice squad players in the NFL are eligible to be signed by any other teams at any point in the season. Teams can also cut any practice squad member at any time during the year.
"Whatever my job was on different practice days, I wanted to make sure I did it to the best of my ability and made sure I got better as a football player throughout the entire process, not just being a blocking dummy or whatnot, but actually trying to make myself better," Molchon said. "I'm extremely thankful for just the position I am in because a lot of people would want to be in that position as well."
The Bucs guard said he also wanted to become a better person by making a difference in people's lives off the field.
Molchon said he took part in a unique service back in his hometown where he was able to pair young men from different high schools with their mothers to do community service.
"Mark 10:14 was a program that Faith Lutheran started with kids with intellectual disabilities, so I was able to really work alongside those students and graduate with those students," he said. "Now, they're at the University of Nevada."
As the season progresses, the 25-year-old said he will continue to work his tail off. He has not gotten into a game yet, but he will always stay game ready.
"There's got to be some sort of record for the longest time on the practice squad for one time," Molchon said jokingly. "That's why I love this place and [the Bucs] made me a better player, a better person. I've loved this experience because it's been amazing."
Tampa Bay is scheduled to take on the Seattle Seahawks at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.