His first NFL rookie minicamp this weekend?
Learning a new playbook more complex than some college courses?
Making a Seahawks roster that needs a big wide receiver, but is also loaded with veterans?
Daunting for most 23-year-olds straight out of college.
Never miss a local story.
But for Amara Darboh, it will seem like a breeze off Lake Washington. That is, compared to what the most resilient of Seattle’s 11 rookie draft choices debuting this weekend has already lived.
“Yeah, man. I feel very blessed,” the Seahawks’ newest wide receiver and third-round draft choice said. “I feel like I’ve gone through some difficult times in my life. I think God has also blessed me, and I’ve had some great people that have helped me throughout my life.”
One of them is the man who drafted Darboh out of the University of Michigan.
“A grit kid,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said after he selected Darboh two weeks ago, “that’s been through a ton in his life.”
When the tall, polished receiver was 2, his parents Solimon and Kadita were murdered.
They were two of more than 35,000 people killed during civil war in Sierra Leone over the first five years of Darboh’s life. The orphan jumped from safe haven to safe haven, through his country’s capital city of Freetown.
“Just moving around,” he said. “A lot.”
Asked what he remembers about that horror, Darboh talked about the joy.
“Fortunately for me, I remember the good parts right before we left,” he said. “I remember playing soccer with my older brothers. I remember the food. I remember family members. I remember going to the market with my brothers and sisters.”
How many siblings does Darboh have?
“I have a lot. About 13,” he said.
At age 7, he fled his west Africa nation as one of 2.5 million people the 11-year war displaced. Some of Darboh’s many relatives escaped with him — reportedly on foot. They hurried to Gambia and neighboring Senegal. That was across the countries of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in between.
The distance from the center of Sierra Leone to the center of Gambia is 420 miles.
“I had a big family so I had to move around a lot,” he said. “So sometimes I’d be with all my brothers and sisters, and moving a lot is what I remember. Moving to different countries, at times.”
In 2001, he jumped at the chance to move to another one: the United States. A Christian group from Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored what was left of Darboh’s family and gave it a home in which to live. His sister Lovette — 12 years older — raised him there.
Without money, he got a scholarship to play in the city’s Little League Baseball program when he was 8. A father of one of his Little League teammates, Dan Schaefer, coached him for years. By the sixth grade, Darboh had moved in with the Schaefer family. The Schaefers eventually adopted him, when he was 17.
That was a couple years after he started playing football, as a freshman at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. He grew into a towering, superstar receiver. Michigan signed him from there.
As a junior in 2015, he did something better than catching 58 passes with five touchdown receptions for coach Jim Harbaugh’s first Michigan team. Better than reaching the Citrus Bowl that season and trouncing Florida.
He gained United States citizenship.
“It was something that I always wanted to do,” he said. “It was something I wanted to do in high school, but unfortunately I didn’t get it done.”
In moving from Des Moines to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he lost his paperwork for naturalization. So he started again, from scratch, while in college.
“I felt like it was a final step (for) me (in the) U.S.,” he said. “I grew up here, and then for me to become a citizen and to be able to participate in all the rights of citizens, like voting and all that, was important to me.
“When I got that done, it was a weight lifted off my shoulder.”
He played like it. His senior season, playing outside and in the slot, he had 57 catches and seven TDs for a Michigan team that ranked among the top 5 nationally.
In his pre-draft workouts he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds. That’s quick for anyone, but especially a man 6-foot-1 and 216 pounds.
On April 28, he became the 106th pick of the 2017 NFL draft. He’s in line for a slotted, four-year rookie contract potentially worth $3.1 million if he sticks with the Seahawks. When he signs, he’ll get a signing bonus scheduled to be $706,000.
“I feel very blessed,” Darboh said, the last word heavy with meaning and memory.
Friday afternoon, he will be wearing a fresh, blue jersey with his new number “84” and “Darboh” stitched on the back.
His run from war in Africa has led to this weekend, the start of his NFL career.
“He is,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, “such an amazing kid.”
Seahawks rookie minicamp
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton
Who: 11 rookie selections from last month's draft, including first-round pick Malik McDowell at defensive tackle and second-round choice Ethan Pocic on the offensive line, plus undrafted free agents. The team is expected to officially announce those on Friday before the first, afternoon practice.