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Louis Trinca-Pasat Isn't Drafted, But Then Signs With St. Louis Rams

 Lane Tech graduate Louis Trinca-Pasat, a defensive lineman at Iowa, recently started his 30th straight game for the Hawkeyes.
Louis Trinca-Pasat
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WEST ROGERS PARK — Louis Trinca-Pasat wasn't selected in the seven-round NFL Draft, but he quickly signed with the St. Louis Rams on Saturday following the three-day event.

The West Rogers Park native and Lane Tech graduate was predicted to be selected in the fifth round, according to his NFL Draft bio. He tweeted on Saturday evening: "Those who overlooked me will regret it."

Fellow Lane Tech graduate Laken Tomlinson went 28th overall to the Detroit Lions in the first round on Thursday night.

Trinca-Pasat, one of the Big Ten's best defensive linemen last year at Iowa, told DNAinfo last year he believes in a simple philosophy.

"You start from somewhere and build your way up," said Trinca-Pasat, who was second team All-Big Ten in 2014 and started all 13 games.

Trinca-Pasat learned that principle from his mother, Estera, and father, Vasile — Romanian immigrants who came to the United States one year apart in search of a better life.

"In Romania, we didn't see our dreams coming true," said Estera, a cafeteria cook at a Wilmette elementary school. "Little income, even for hard workers."

Vasile, Chief Engineer at Clark Place Condominium Association in Lincoln Park, left Romania in 1988. His wife, and their four children at the time, joined him on Dec. 14, 1989 — one day before the beginning of the Romanian Revolution.

Louis was born Sept. 7, 1991. He quickly realized there was only one way to act at home.

"Growing up, we never had much, and it was always a mentality that you can always do better," he said. "That's something I've always seen, and it's allowed me to not be complacent and improve every day."

Trinca-Pasat didn't play tackle football until his freshman year of high school. His parents had forbidden him from the sport while he attended Walt Disney Magnet School in Uptown through eighth grade, only allowing him to compete in basketball and flag football.

"My parents were strict," he said. "They just wanted me and my brothers to go to church [at Philadelphia Romanian Church of God in Ravenswood] and be involved there."

The summer before he entered Lane Tech, Trinca-Pasat's two older brothers, Florin and Vasile Jr., convinced the heads of the household the family's youngest child deserved a chance on the gridiron.

It was love at first hit.

"The first time I tackled someone, I was so psyched," said Trinca-Pasat, who was promoted to varsity by the end of his freshman season.

His coach at Lane Tech, Rich Rio, said Trinca-Pasat was "dominant" as both a tight end and linebacker.

"He was a team captain and led by example," Rio said in 2014. "Louis is one of the finest young men I have had the good fortune to coach during my 30-plus-year career."

Eight top-tier colleges pursued Trinca-Pasat, and he chose Iowa in big part so his parents could see him perform every week.

He said last year his main goal was to get drafted, with coaching as a backup plan.

"I love sports, so that's what I want to continue to do in some way," he said.

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