Kenny Moore II, the boy who quit football in eighth grade after learning he had been moved to defensive back from wide receiver, has become a hometown hero and according to some, “one of the best players most of America does not know.”
I didn’t even know he found success in the NFL until I heard about the insane contract he signed with the Colts in 2019, basically, and I grew up here just like he did.
Moore didn’t have a lot of buzz coming out of high school—or college, for that matter—but he has become the poster child for those who say that a recruit’s number of stars by their name means nothing when it’s game time.
Moore was born on Aug. 23, 1995 in Valdosta, Georgia. He played soccer, basketball and did track at Lowndes High School.
It wasn’t until his senior year that Moore decided to play high school football, and, based on the way things are going for him now, I’m sure he doesn’t regret joining the Vikings on Friday nights—even if he had to play DB.
After graduating from Lowndes in 2013, Moore played DB at VSU and recorded 11 interceptions (fifth all-time in school history) throughout his career.
Moore went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft—not surprising, considering he was a DII standout and not a DI standout—but signed a deal with the New England Patriots. He was cut from New England during the same year, but the day after he was cut, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. This wasn’t the insane contract mentioned earlier, but any contract for an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta is a pretty insane contract.
On June 13, 2019, Moore signed a new 4-year deal worth $33 million with the Colts that made him the highest-paid slot cornerback in the NFL after being a steady contributor for the Colts’ secondary.
Pretty good for an undrafted Division II standout from Valdosta. However, things haven’t always been great for Moore in the NFL.
He referred to the summer of 2017 as “one of the low spots of my life” in a March 2021 interview with Tyler Dunne of Go Long, despite the fact that head coach Bill Belichick spoke highly of Moore as a rookie in training camp—coach Belichick speaking highly of rookies isn’t something that happens a lot.
Moore was with the Patriots at the time and says that it was “the longest four months of my life” and that it felt “more like the military.”
“That’s really when I felt like, ‘I’m probably not built for the league,’ and having that feeling of, ‘You’re not good enough,’ that’s a bad feeling,” Moore said. “You feel like you don’t belong. I lost all of my joy and passion. I didn’t even want to play football. I didn’t want to go to work anymore. I was depressed. I was trying to fight my way out of it.”
He lost his joy and passion for football, and he almost decided to quit altogether.
Moore had never dealt with depression to this degree. He only looked forward to getting home at night to go back to sleep and get away from the hell that playing football for New England was.
Once he got to Indianapolis, Moore met with a therapist daily to try and regain his passion for the sport.
Thankfully, he regained his passion and is a leader for the Colts defense looking to have many more years of success in the NFL.
Still, Moore knows there is more to life than football. He knows it is just a game that he’s been blessed with the ability to play.
Besides accomplishing some amazing things on the field, he has been able to do some amazing things for others off the field in his community.
Mason Garvey is one of those people affected by Moore. Mason was nine when he passed away after battling cancer. Before Garvey passed, he and Moore became friends and would hang out often, either at Mason’s home or various spots around Indianapolis.
In a game versus the Denver broncos, Mason and Moore took the field together during pregame introductions in celebration of Mason’s birthday.
Moore still wears a bracelet with the words “Mighty Mason” written on it in honor of his late friend.
This is the kind of thing that makes you proud to be from the same place as a star. Moore could have easily gone on to enjoy the luxuries of success in the NFL and let it all get to his head, but instead, he has used his platform to form meaningful relationships with people like Mason, people who aren’t very familiar with any form of luxury at all.
That is incredible and it says a lot about who Moore is as a man—especially since his father wasn’t around to teach him how to be one.
Moore is also an Emmy-winner. He didn’t win the award because he is a great actor, but, once again, because Moore is a special person who understands that kindness and people matter. His actions after witnessing a young man named Max Dickson nearly lose his dog, Chica, in a hit-and-run accident inspired the NFL 360 film, “I Got You.”
After witnessing the accident, Moore quickly got out of his car and ran to Dickson’s side. Dickson was frantic and explaining how important Chica was to him because of how she had “saved his life.” Moore didn’t know anything about Dickson or his dog. Moore simply assured Dickson that everything would be alright with a genuine “I got you” as he rushed his two new friends to the vet and became part of the reason that Chica is still alive today.
Moore and Dickson will be friends forever now. Moore could have easily just maneuvered around the stranger’s dog and would have never had to deal with the situation again, but he would never.
As he has clearly demonstrated time and time again, Moore isn’t that kind of person. Moore is a person who has been greatly gifted—by God, if you ask me—and he is a person that cares deeply about those around him.
That is a beautiful combination that has and will continue to positively impact a multitude of lives.
It’s cool to see someone from your hometown go on to make it big in life, to be watching NFL games on TV and be able to say, “he’s from here,” when Moore flashes across the screen.
However, more so than that, it is an honor to see someone achieve that success and fully understand the gravity of their situation and use their gifts to bless the less fortunate while they have the opportunity.
Hats off to kenny Moore II. He has accomplisehed so much so soon in his career and I believe this is only just the beginning of what we will see out of him.
Written by Zach Edmondson, Sports Editor. Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.