SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota man is in New York tonight to fulfill a dream. Teton Saltes spent most of his childhood on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Talk with Teton Saltes and it quickly becomes apparent this young man has a bright future.
Part of that dream involves NFL, which is amazing when you understand that he’s only been playing football since his junior year of high school. In other words only 6 years!
“Its very surreal to say the least, you know a moment like this you dream about your whole life,” said Teton.
He was hoping to be drafted last weekend, but that didn’t happen.
“I knew right after the draft there would be plenty of teams blowing my phone up and wanting me to sign with them,” said Teton.
He chose the Jets. As an offensive lineman, he believes he has a good chance of making the team.
“I have a lot of potential, and I think they want me to come in and just continue to get better,” said Teton.
Dave Williams was an assistant Athletic Director at USD until 2019 and now works at the University of New Mexico
“Teton is just an outstanding leader, with deep convictions but really the difference with Teton is that he takes those convictions and turns them into action,” said Williams.
Teton says throughout his journey his family has been supporting him.
“Its so amazing for me to have them a part of it, and so many people out there in South Dakota and New Mexico where I played football at, there so many people who have surrounded me and been a part of the journey so its really amazing when you look back at it,” said Teton.
Tom Hanson: You realize you’ve become an example for other young people on reservations all over the country.
“Right, and you know I don’t take that lightly, that something that I’ve always tried to do and tried to be. You know, I want to be the beacon of hope in a land of darkness if you will.”
Teton says for many athletes the NFL is the final goal.
“For me, it’s just the beginning of what I want to do. And there are so many people I want to bring along and continue to empower and not just on the reservation, it’s all people from all walks of life, so it’s amazing, it really is and I’m so excited to continue this journey and bring so many people along with me,” said Teton.
After football, whenever that is, Teton has his sights set on law school and possibly politics.