Energetic, skillful, intelligent, and witty. Suppose you’ve seen Seth DeValve play or know anything about him. In that case, you’ll have no doubts that those words describe the American football player who was always destined for the big leagues. His journey to the NFL began in his childhood years, with three older brothers and a father who had a sporting career of his own.
Inspired by all four personalities, Seth DeValve has marshaled his way to the National Football League (NFL), as a tight end who played for the Cleveland Browns. As his profile increases, it is worth learning about the family that provided the foundation for his success.
His father, Tim, is an Engineer and a Former Long-Distance Runner
Seth DeValve was born on January 29, 1993, in Manchester, Connecticut. His parents are Tim and Laurie DeValve, an engineer and a homemaker. Although now known for his exploits in Connecticut, his father’s life began in Ankara, Turkey, before he moved to the United States.
He found fame and sporting accomplishment on the track, starting from his high school years in Manchester High, where Seth also made his name as a footballer. Tim DeValve ran track and cross country in three varsity seasons, winning the CIAC 5,000-meter open championship in 1980.
Before then, he was named in the All-State track team in 1979 and in 1980, in the All-State cross-country team. He has since been inducted into Manchester High School Sports Hall of Fame.
After an exemplary high school career, Seth’s father moved to the University of Connecticut, where he had a four-year career as a track and cross-country runner. He also captained the team in his junior and senior years, with additional recognition like Academic All-American. Unable to pursue a professional career in track, he graduated and became a technical engineer specialist at Hamilton Standard.
Tim’s sporting career later inspired his sons, Caleb, Levi, Jacob, and Seth, who later pursued a life in sports in varying degrees. Seth, in particular, competed in track & field in high school, becoming a National Guard Scholar-Athlete and a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) athlete.
Caleb DeValve works for ExxonMobil
Their father’s sporting career was influential, particularly in their formative years. Still, it was his work in engineering that had a lasting effect. Along with other DeValve brothers, Caleb played football in Manchester’s midget football league. We are not sure if he played in high school, but his overall football journey was brief before he deferred to engineering.
Caleb DeValve attended The University of Connecticut, where he studied Mechanical Engineering between 2004 and 2008. A year after, he began and later earned his Ph.D. in the same subject at Virginia Tech, where he also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant.
In February 2013, he completed the program and left the role. Since then, Seth DeValve’s brother has been working with ExxonMobil as a Subsurface Engineer in Houston, Texas.
Jacob DeValve Ran the Decathlon at Liberty University
Seth’s brother, Jacob, is perhaps the only one that most followed in their father’s footsteps. Like his siblings, he attended Manchester High School, where he won the Connecticut State Open decathlon title. He also competed in the 2009 Connecticut State Open meet, finishing second in the 400-meter dash and the shot put event.
After high school, Jacob DeValve attended Liberty University, where he was redshirted for the indoor and outdoor seasons. He also competed in the decathlon and shot put events, hitting the top ten list of the school program. However, post-college, Jacob has pursued a non-athletic life as a church planter. He and his wife, Katie, are church planters who serve in Papua New Guinea under the Trinity Covenant Church.
As for his last parental family member, Levi, not much is known about him. However, unconfirmed reports suggest he is an assistant professor of operations management at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Beyond his parental background, Seth DeValve has built his own family, with an equally influential impact on his career.
Seth DeValve is Married to Erica Harris, a Fellow Princeton Graduate
In the short time he has spent in the NFL, Seth DeValve’s personal life has come under scrutiny. He is married to Erica Harris, an African American woman whom he met at Princeton University in 2015. Their paths crossed after he played the guitar in front of the class for a class project.
Their relationship began a few weeks after when their paths crossed again while they attended the on-campus fellowship. Since then, they have gotten married on June 17, 2017, after an elaborate proposal shortly after he caught his first NFL touchdown. However, the couple has yet to welcome their first child.
Erica Harris DeValve graduated from Princeton in 2017 one year after her husband with a degree in English. She also has a certificate of proficiency in African American Studies and was part of the Black Arts Company Dance group that started in 1990. She spent her college years as part of the dance company, continuing a life in dancing that began in high school in New Jersey.
Their Shared Values and Passions Have Made Seth a Vocal Proponent for Social Justice
Erica first noticed Seth DeValve during that class project. However, it took their shared Christian belief, which they realized in church, for a relationship to take hold. That belief has remained, and it has also pushed Seth to speak out when others have kept quiet against racism.
On August 21, 2017, shortly after the couple got married, he became the first white NFL player to take the controversial knee during the national anthem. According to him, he took the brave step following the August 2017 demonstrations in Charlottesville. The White Supremacists and Neo-Nazi rally was antithetical to his beliefs and reminded him of what was at stake on a personal level.
His decision prompted suggestions that he was making himself a white saviour, but being partners in their marriage; Erica wrote a public statement disputing the suggestion.
Seth was less than one year into his NFL career when he knelt in front of the world, and he did not get banned for his actions like Colin Kaepernick.
However, his career has not turned as he hoped when he got drafted in 2016. He was released by the Cleveland Browns in 2019 and is currently a free agent as of October 2020 after failed stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers.