ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Jaymar Latchison is living his passion once again. The former University of New Mexico defensive lineman is now suiting up with indoor football’s Duke City Gladiators.
His journey back to Albuquerque and football includes a round with homelessness. Latchison played with the Lobos from 2007 until 2011. After his senior year he got an NFL opportunity to attend mini camp with the Green Bay Packers. It didn’t go the way Latchison envisioned. He said his good pro day numbers were not enough to keep him in Green Bay. He was released after three days.
Latchison tried to pursue his dream of football for almost two years before deciding to move from his home in California to Denver, Colorado and start a life. It was in Denver where his life would change.
“I ended up losing my apartment and becoming homeless,” said Latchison.
His story would get worse before it got better.
“While I was homeless I ended up having my phone stolen,” said Latchison. “So, I wasn’t on the internet or anything but, my family couldn’t get in touch with me. They declared me a missing person.”
For 23 days in January of 2016, “missing” was Latchison’s status. Family members even used social media in an attempt to try and find him.
Then one day, “I ended up being found coming back from a job that I found,” said Latchison. “I got a job when I was homeless. Coming back from work, my mom was parked at the shelter’s parking lot and took me home.”
That was the beginning of Latchison returning to a normal life. The UNM grad said being homeless was tough and unpredictable. Latchison focused on staying strong mentally and staying safe.
After returning home, Latchison was able to find a job.
“I was like, okay this is a good opportunity,” said Latchison. “I could move up to management, have my own store. I was working for Dominos at the time, but I was like, I still want to play football, and so I just reached out to New Mexico and just wanted to see what could happen.”
The Duke City Gladiators reached back to Latchison and gave him an opportunity to return to his passion and some of his former Lobo teammates.
“You can kind of, since our relationship in our bond becoming stronger, just being on the field again,” said Latchison. “And, you kind of really value coming to a stronger understanding of that brotherhood and what it means to bleed in battle with each other and for each other. ”
Latchison is very thankful to be back in New Mexico and in the game.
“To make it all the way back here is just an exciting time,” said Latchison. “I’m just ready to see what it’s like to be professional and take advantage of that and pursue my goals wholeheartedly.”