FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Almost every six-year-old wants to play professional football when they're old enough. Chandler Worthy wanted it so badly that he pleaded with his father Gregory to let him play with the older kids.
"I was crying begging my dad to let me play football, so he faked my birth certificate so I could start playing [at] seven and eight early," said Worthy. "I think that's when I realized that this is what I wanted to do."
Sixteen years later, Worthy exemplifies the phrase, "fake it till you make it," as it has worked to his benefit. But make no mistake, the Griffin,Georgia native plays the game of football with real effort, real passion, and real athleticism. Worthy's speed helped him excel at Griffin High School as a multidimensional player. He also ran track, leading his team to a second place finish in the state 4x100 relay.
During his high school career, Worthy spent more time keeping the ball away from the offense, than catching or running with it - because he played cornerback.
"I was cold at DB (defensive back), nobody could catch a ball on me," he said.
As a high school graduate colleges viewed him primarily as a defensive player. That is until Troy University stepped in and offered him the opportunity he truly wanted.
"Naturally I was pretty good at corner, I only had one offer to play offense which was Troy that's why I went there because I felt like I didn't play offense as much as I wanted to because my high school was really good," he said. "Troy wanted to give me the opportunity that's why I took it."
He took that opportunity and ran with it, to the tune of 137 catches, 1767 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns as a Troy Trojan. Worthy was also one of the top return men in the Sun-Belt conference. In his senior season, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns averaging 26.1 yards per return.
Worthy went undrafted in 2015, in fact, he wasn't even invited to the NFL scouting combine despite some collegiate success. He impressed NFL scouts with a good workout at Troy's pro day, recording a 4.38 40-yard dash time and a 39 1/2 inch vertical jump, which left the Houston Texans in awe. Houston would later sign him to its practice squad.
With the Texans, Worthy bounced back and forth from the active roster to the practice squad before making the 53-man roster, just in time for the regular season. But shortly after he officially started his NFL career, he was waived after playing in just three games catching three passes for 14 yards.
"They [Texans] really taught me a lot [and] instilled a lot of good values in me," said Worthy. "The main thing that they were telling me [was] just keep developing and you got it. Learn to keep crafting my skills till I'm at a point where I feel like I can't be stopped."
At 5-foot-9 173 pounds, Worthy is currently fighting for a spot on the Jets roster which already has a bevy of young and veteran receivers. To say that Worthy is a long shot to make the team would be fair. After all, scouts did question his size and skill level coming out of college and he hasn't proved much in his time in the league. However, Worthy realizes we live in a world filled with naysayers but he isn't remotely fazed.
"I have nothing to prove, who would I be if I were sitting up here trying to prove everybody wrong? I've been doing that my whole life. I know what I want to be and I know where I want to end up in this NFL. I want to make a name for myself so I'm not going to stop until I do that."
Worthy is ready to let his play do the talking and take what he's learned out onto the field.
"Right now [I'm] just focusing on getting better everyday and being able to help the team out whichever way I can, so I'm just ready for these preseason games to get rolling. I've gotten a lot better, my footwork is getting a lot better, I'm developing a lot better as a receiver."
Worthy has come too far to not appreciate the opportunity to play in the NFL, and he won't let anything deter him.
"Mentality. Just keeping yourself calm, not making the game bigger than what it is and come out here and realize it's just a blessing to be out here."
Whether it's age or height, nothing will keep Worthy from pursuing what he's worked for since he was a kid.
"It's always good to keep living out your dream."
Worthy has three siblings including an older brother Gregory Jr. who played safety at Furman University and was teammates with current Jets offensive lineman Dakota Dozier.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL) or email (email@example.com)