BOZEMAN — Standing on the bleachers at Van Winkle Stadium at Bozeman High School on Sunday afternoon, Will Dissly let the last 24 hours sink in.
A day earlier, Dissly received a phone call that would change his life forever. The Seattle Seahawks drafted the Bozeman native and University of Washington tight end in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 120th pick.
And the best part? Dissly’s reaction.
When Seattle’s general manager John Schneider called Dissly to inform him that he was being drafted, the Seahawks recorded the conversation to get his immediate reaction.
“You’re going to have to move all the way over to the east side brother,” Schneider says in the video. “We’re going to take you right here, OK?”
“No s***?!” Dissly responded in the uncensored video.
“No s***,” Schneider answered with a big grin on his face.
But hey, who among us wouldn’t respond like that?
“I didn’t know it was being recorded or I probably would’ve put it a little more politically correct,” Dissly said on Sunday with a smile. “But it was a genuine response, and a little surprise, and then the excitement set in and everyone was cheering and it was a fun moment.”
Donning a black, long sleeve shirt with a University of Washington logo filled with the American flag and a hat for the Montana 12’s, the charity organization started by fellow Bozeman native Brock Coyle, Dissly spoke with 406mtsports.com about just how special hearing his name called was to him.
Dissly will stay put in the Pacific Northwest and will be filling in at a position that the Seahawks are currently thin at due to free agency. And standing at his old high school stadium on a cloudy and mildly rainy Sunday, Dissly said the feeling of getting drafted is beginning to set in.
“Yeah it has. I’m just so excited to go out there,” Dissly said. “Being at UW for four years and them being right across the water, there’s just so much love for the Seahawks from the fans. I’m just so excited to be a part of that organization.”
“We were watching on TV and sure enough I’m getting a phone call from Washington. (Schneider) was like, ‘Hey we’re going to take you here.’ I remember looking at the TV and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s crazy.’
He recognized the phone number as a Renton, Washington, area code when Schneider called. Dissly explained that he had a good relationship with the Seahawks due to the NFL Combine, which he attended in February and March, his pro day and Seattle’s local day. Those experiences, as well as being in the same city, made the idea of playing for them that much more exciting.
Coyle, who currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers and is a personal idol and mentor to Dissly, was among many who offered their congratulations to the 2014 Bozeman High grad.
“This is the only hat that my brother brought,” Dissly said. “I didn’t have any other teams and he brought this Montana 12’s hat. It’s pretty cool. Brock gave me a shoutout on Twitter and texted me too.”
The Montana 12’s are a part of the Brock Coyle Foundation, a charity organization that, according to its website, “Provides financial assistance toward medical and travel costs for families with children suffering from serious medical conditions.” Coyle began the foundation while he was a member of the Seahawks. The Montana 12’s logo outlines a Seahawk logo inside the Treasure State. Dissly said he hopes to work with Coyle with the organization going forward.
Now, Dissly and Coyle will line up opposite one another twice a year.
“Now he’s the rival since he’s on the 49ers,” Dissly said with a laugh. “It’s going to be sweet playing him and even Dante (Pettis) is on the 49ers, too. He was one of my teammates (at Washington). I’m just excited to keep playing football.”
Dissly was surrounded by family and friends when he got the call.
“It was just such an emotional day. You’re so excited that all of that hard work is coming to fruition,” Dissly said. “The next day, the excitement is still there but it’s just a normal Sunday, man. Just woke up, had breakfast with my parents and brothers, and did some yard work too. Nothing has really changed.”
Wait, you mean NFL players have to do chores too?
“I’ll always have chores when I come home,” Dissly said. “That’s probably a good thing.”
Dissly said he spoke on the phone with the Seahawks and Seattle media for about 25 minutes after getting his call. Once everything was good to go, he said he was able to put his phone away for a bit, relax and celebrate with those around him at his home.
Dissly, the 2013 Montana Gatorade Player of the Year, led Bozeman to an undefeated season and Class AA state championship his senior year. Dissly was a two-way star for the Hawks, starting at tight end for three years and defensive end for two. He was a two-time all-state selection.
Now, he stands on his old high school field as one of the newest members of the NFL.
“I think about it all the time. Just really proud to be from Montana and have just had a really fortunate life,” Dissly said. “Every time I come back I always have happy memories of this place. I’m really blessed to able to say that.”
Spending time with those close to him and who he grew up with meant a lot to Dissly. He mentioned how his support system has been the biggest driving force behind his success in high school through college.
As excited as I am about this opportunity, I did not get here alone. To anyone who helped or supported me along the way it did not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful.— Will Dissly (@Will_Diss) April 28, 2018
“I have unbelievable friends and obviously my family has been with me every step of the way,” Dissly said. “It wasn’t a perfect story and I think people respect that and appreciate that if you work through the hard times and keep working hard.
“My friends and their parents, they treated me like their own kid. They took me to practices and camps and tournaments and stuff like that. (Ex-NFL player) Shane Collins drove me and Grant (Collins) down to Boise State where I got my offer. So, if I didn’t have that support, I wouldn’t be here. That’s the community of Bozeman. That’s why it’s so special here. Everyone kind of looks after each other. I just wanted people to know that that stuff doesn’t go unnoticed by any means. I’m a product of my environment and all of that support gave me so much confidence going forward.”
Dissly has rookie minicamp next weekend and the team holds OTAs, or organized team activities, beginning in late May which run through June.
Washington had a 24-hour rule where the team was allowed to be mad about a loss or happy about a win for that stretch of time.
Even with the NFL Draft, that rule applies to Dissly.
“Guess I’m giving myself 24 hours to be happy and then it’s back to business and start training and getting ready for the upcoming season,” Dissly said.