Heeding the famous phrase, the young man headed west.
“I have not left,” Sully said. “When I came out here, I packed two suitcases and I told my mom, ‘Mom, I love you, but I don’t plan on coming back. I plan on making this team.’”
Sully was determined, but it wouldn’t be easy. A running back in college, he began training camp with the Rams playing at the same position. That lasted one day.
“My road was a long road. On the second day of training camp, Ray Malavasi, who was our (head) coach, called me into his office. I thought I was going to get cut before the first week, for crying out loud,” Sully laughed. “But he told me, ‘We’re going to move you to defensive back. We think that you’ve got a lot of speed and we want to see if you could learn how to play that.’
“So, what I ended up doing was going back to my room. I cried my eyes out and said, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. Screw it, let’s just go get this thing done.’ One thing I could do, I could fight and I could make things happen. And I could run. So, I made it stick and I made it happen. Thank God I had great guys on the team to help me learn how to backpedal.”
Sully beat the odds, made the team, and helped the Rams make it to Super Bowl XIV. He would spend nine seasons in the NFL with Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and Detroit.
“I’m most happy about the fact that teams found value in me,” Sully said. “I was proud of the fact that I did my job well to the point where people noticed me. And I was proficient at my job. You sit back and you think about this stuff and it’s like, ‘I really played nine years? That’s crazy. That’s wild.’ So, it’s very satisfying.”
Following football, Sully, who makes his home in Anaheim, CA, with his wife, Sylvia, and is the father of four: Jacob, Amber, Megan and Jasmine, and grandfather of two; worked in the clothing business. He’s now an independent contractor and owns a company called Ivory Sully & Associates.
“I work with an assessment tool [PDP Works Global] called ProScan. This tool is so remarkable. It’s been around for 40 years and it’s been used over six million times to create this algorithm that is 97 percent accurate in identifying your personal, individual, unique strengths,” Sully said.
“I really have a nose to help people, I want to serve. Doing this right now is giving me joy. I’m putting food on the table for my family. And based on that algorithm and the assessment tool that I’m working with, with high schools, colleges, medical companies, everything that you could imagine, it’s just been so fulfilling in helping people discover who they really are.
“I’m hopeful to work with some NFL guys. It’s just so helpful for guys that are coming out of the league and to actually know what they do well. What are they strongest at? The answering of those questions is essential to first of all, your self-awareness. You basically feel good about yourself because you know who you are.”