After going undrafted this spring, Glenn Winston patiently waited for his phone to ring.
When the San Francisco 49ers eventually called at the beginning of August after Kendall Hunter suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, Winston got his break, but he had to wait even longer for his first real crack at showing off his skill set.
The running back didn't receive any touches in either of the team's first two preseason contents. That drought, however, ended Sunday. And it ended with a thud.
Taking on the San Diego Chargers, Winston carried eight times for 58 yards, 27 of which came on an off-tackle run in the fourth quarter slicing through the opposing defense and into the endzone without being touched.
The best images from the 49ers hosting the Chargers in the team's final home exhibition contest before the regular season.
"I just ran my keys, I saw the backside open and I went there," Winston said. "The front line did what they had to do up front and allowed me to score."
For Winston, the touchdown signified much more than just a late preseason tack-on. After clawing his way back from trying times as a teenager in college, the score gave him a sense of belonging.
Winston, who began at Michigan State before being dismissed from the team, finished out his collegiate career at Northwood University and has since relished the chance given to him by the 49ers.
"They saw a good athlete and a guy that stood up, didn't run away from the situation, didn't run away from what he did, just owned up to it and that was it," Winston said. "It means the world to me. I want everybody to know that the underdog is truly not the underdog."
Although the 25-year-old has high hopes for his future in the NFL, he knows not everything will come at once.
"I want to be one of the best running backs in the league," he said. "But that's all steps… Hopefully the touchdown will help me get on that roster. But also just showing up, being accountable, doing the things they ask you to do and not messing up."
Shortly after the 49ers victory over the Chargers on Sunday, Winston went right back to work. He'll save the celebrations for a later date if he has things his way.
"I study hard, I work hard, I study that playbook every night," he said. "I'm about to go in there right now and study. I love the grind; I'd rather be doing it than not doing it."
MORE FROM 49ERS.COM:___________