Many people have dark pasts. Dwayne Marshall's may be one that many could not overcome. He lived in serious poverty, starving for days, getting heat from the oven, using a shoe string as a belt and slept on the floor.
"I started working illegally at 14 because my mother needed help," he said. "She was a young unfocused mother who did what she could or knew but didn't get much done. My father has always been a street guy and still is till this day."
Despite all of his early struggles, Marshall still managed to make it into college. He enrolled at Wesley College. Unfortunately, he had to leave following his freshman year because his mother couldn't afford for him to attend.
He attended community college, but eventually dropped out of there, as well, because he got into drugs and was more interested in running the streets. Everything changed one day in 2017.
"A close friend named Joe Evans ask why don't I just become a pro," Marshall said. "I didn't think it was possible because I thought you needed school for that, but I then searched and googled everything I could."
After doing as much research as possible, Marshall reached out to coach Julien Robinson. Robinson invited him to a tryout for the Maryland Warriors of Elite Indoor Football (EIF). He would wind up earning a roster spot with the Eagles.
He recorded 59 receptions, two interceptions and 19 total touchdowns. He was named an All-Star, team MVP and league offensive MVP. Following the Warriors season in June 2018, Marshall was called to join the Baltimore Brigade.
He played in Baltimore up until ArenaBowl XXXI, where he didn't play because they didn't have him in their gameplan. He was cut following the game.
Marshall worked a security job while working out over the fall, preparing for 2019. While doing this, Marshall looked to reunite with his father. That would turn out to be a big mistake.
On Nov. 25, 2018, Marshall met his father at a bar. Things seemed normal at first, then "the switch flipped," as he explained it.
"It stemmed from his street mentality, lack of trust and loyalty," he said. "He thought I had relations with his wife, who I referred to as my mother, but alcohol and drugs took over him."
Marshall was stabbed in the leg and hand. After spending one night in a local hospital, he was bedridden for a month.
He is currently now with the Carolina Havoc, who kicked off training camp last week. Should he not make the Week 1 roster, he is prepared for what's next.
"I'm sure I have other teams I can join and if all fails I'll go back into personal training and modeling," he said. "I was always into fashion. Not the price of brands, but how I put together outfits and create up until people started telling me I should do it and at the time I needed something to do."
Should Marshall earn a roster spot with the defending American Arena League champions, his first game will be on March 15 when they host the Cape Fear Heroes.