LOS ANGELES -- Nearly six years after surviving the Aurora theater shooting by taking a bullet to his neck, Zack Golditch has landed in the NFL.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound guard, who played in 43 games during his career at Colorado State University, signed with the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday after not being chosen in the NFL draft.
Golditch was a first-team All-Mountain West pick last season for the Rams and was part of an offensive line that averaged only one sack allowed per game in 2016. He became a starter in 2015.
Golditch was at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater during a midnight screening of the film "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012 when a gunman began opening fire.
Twelve people were killed and 58 others were wounded from the gunfire. Twelve others suffered nongunfire injuries.
Golditch took a bullet to the left side of his neck. The bullet entered under his ear and exited the back in pieces.
Despite that, he played the 2012 season at Gateway High School and earned a scholarship to CSU.
"He didn't miss a rep, didn't miss a practice," Gateway athletic director Justin Hoffman said the day Golditch signed with the Rams. "He was never late to a class. He was the same guy before as he was after."
Golditch tore a tendon in his ring finger during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January and underwent surgery, missing CSU's pro day.
He was passed over in the seven-round draft, but the Chargers quickly signed him Saturday night as an unrestricted free agent.
“I was a 17-year-old kid going to see a movie; next thing you know, I might not have come home that night. For me to still be able to play football, to be able to be a normal person and an able-bodied person is great,” he told USA Today during the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I take nothing for granted. This opportunity to continue to live my life today is amazing. ...
“I never stopped and realized this is part of my story. I shouldn’t push that away because what I hold on to right now is a story, not just about myself, but about everyone else.
"I can carry that and represent them through what I do now and how I carry myself. I have to embrace it.”