It pays to go to school in Vancouver.
Dakoda Shepley was playing football, hanging out, college student at the University of British Columbia a few years ago. Another film production crew has arrived at the scenic campus on the cliffs overlooking the Strait of Georgia and downtown Vancouver.
“They call it ‘Hollywood North’,” Shepley said. “So they’re going to shoot movies and shows there, especially on my campus. They filmed a lot of things on my campus.
Center was sitting in their UBC football locker room when a team came to take photos of the room for a movie set.
“I was like ‘Hey, are you filming a movie?’” Shepley said. “And they were like, ‘Yeah. Do you want to be in it? ‘ “
He ended up becoming an additional soccer player in this soccer movie.
“And it ended up being a Hallmark movie,” he said.
“My grandmother loved me to be in a Hallmark movie.”
This brought Shepley into the database of actors who fit a certain profile and appearance. Namely: a striking 6ft 5in man in his twenties with a beard and personality.
“I ended up being a double in a Netflix movie,” he said. “And then from there I got the Deadpool gig, as an extra.”
The Windsor, Ont. And UBC college football player was cast as an extra in Deadpool 2, the 2018 Marvel Comics superhero film. The film was released a year after Shepley signed on. with the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent, and the year Shepley was the fifth overall pick in the Canadian Football League Draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
As he prepared for his role as an extra in Deadpool, the film’s casting director called him in.
“He said, ‘Hey Dakoda, we love the way you look. We will enhance your role as someone special in the movie. We can’t really tell you that, ”Shepley said.
“When I found out it was Omega Red… there were people working on the movie who were like, ‘Are you Omega Red? I’ve been a Marvel fan my whole life. ‘
“I had no idea or paid attention to any of this, but I love comics. But I don’t like it like them, because (Omega Red) is like an Easter egg character.
Shepley no longer plays with Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin. He arrived at the Seahawks to land a starting position in a position not at all planned for this season, a week before his start.
How he got here
Seattle signed Shepley last week on waivers from divisional rival San Francisco 49ers directly to the 53-player roster. Even though he has never played center in a game and learned the job himself with film study and technical work throughout the offseason in Dallas, Shepley joins the competition no settled with Kyle Fuller and 2020 starter Ethan Pocic to be the Seahawks center for quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Really, really loved down center,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We were surprised that he was available (on waivers) as we watched him.
“Our guys did a really good pre-season evaluation on him. Ultimately (the day before the preseason finals) he was truly one of our favorite guys.
“Shoot if he doesn’t show up for us.” We were very lucky to have it. “
When Wilson said aloud this offseason “I’m frustrated at being too affected,” his Seahawks came out and improved their guard. They traded with Las Vegas to get veteran Gabe Jackson. He’s been one of the best pass-blocking goaltenders in the NFL over the past half-dozen seasons.
Seattle has Duane Brown and 202 Brandon Shell on the tackle – Brown, that is, whenever he decides it’s time to let go of his grip on the desire for a new contract. Coach Pete Carroll said this week “I’m counting on him” in the opener against the Colts next weekend.
The center is the only position the team has not improved in years. Pocic was a first-time starter there last season, after three years as a reserve keeper and tackle. His one-year, $ 3 million contract to return in 2021 suggests the Seahawks value Pocic more as a swing player who can play all three positions on the offensive line than being their starting center again.
If Fuller had wowed Carroll, line coach Mike Solari and new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron at training camp and the three preseason games he started, they wouldn’t have signed Shepley.
And despite the fact that he only played one NFL game last season with the 49ers as a reserve goalie, Shepley already knows that.
“I’m just here to compete and play,” he said after his second Seahawks practice. “I think any player on the team should be looking to compete to help win games and win championships. This is what I am here to do. No more no less.”
Shepley was a left tackle and right guard at UBC. After the Jets freed him, Saskatchewan recruited him as a guard. He had a three-year CFL contract, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit North America and the world in early 2020, the league called off his season. This took Shepley out of the last two years of his CFL contract and ultimately back in the NFL with San Francisco.
He was also a goaltender last season with the 49ers. Then San Francisco offensive line coach Chris Foerster changed Shepley’s career in January.
“I was told after the end of last season that I would be a league center,” he said. “So since last season I’ve taught myself and learned to slam, to read defense like a center should. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it and have control over it.
“I feel like I’m a plug and play guy because of all the work I’ve been doing this offseason, to become a center and we’ll see how it goes. It’s going well so far.
He says the hardest part of the learning center was the first part, the most basic.
“By slamming the ball. Shotgun shot, ”he said. “I can’t count how many times I’ve flown a balloon or jumped it off the ground. Really fine-tuning that and being able to make my calls while I’m doing it was a challenge, but I think I got over it and showed it in the preseason.
“That’s why I’m here. I got it, got to work, and it works.
That job included training with Duane “Duke” Manyweather, an offensive lineman at Humboldt State in Northern California from 2004-2006 who is a Phoenix-based offensive line scouting and development consultant. Manyweather took Shepley to his O-Line Masterminds offseason training program in Dallas.
“It brings out over a hundred offensive linemen: former NFL players, current active players. It’s pretty cool, ”Shepley said. “I got to talk to guys like Ryan Jensen (center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl champions), retired guys like Andre Gurode (center and 12-year-old NFL veteran goalie).
“It was really cool. Andre Gurode actually helped me a lot on how to hold the ball, the trajectory, talk about the snapshot mechanics, it was really cool working with him in Dallas.
Also cool and different: Shepley is probably the first NFL player with a contoured Heath Ledger facial tattoo inked on his forearm.
“From ‘A Knight’s Tale’. It’s my all-time favorite movie, ”Shepley said. “I mean, rags to wealth, from peasant to knight. It’s the coolest story of all time. It was a staple movie for me when I was a kid for some reason, and it means a lot to me.