It wasn't to play nose tackle for the Washington Redskins.
"He wanted to play point guard for the New York Knicks," said Fred Ross, his former high school football coach.
That would have made for an interesting scene -- a 6-foot-2, 319-pound point guard with a shaved head and full beard leading the Knicks on the floor of Madison Square Garden.
His destiny, though, lay in pizza. He ate his way into being a nose tackle.
"Every pizza house in Stroudsburg knew him by his first name," Ross said, laughing.
But he didn't lose that basketball athleticism, and it helped him Sunday with a surprising rookie debut -- two sacks of Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the Redskins' 28-14 win.
The rookie nose tackle hails from the heart of the Pocono Mountains, just across the Brodhead Creek from my hometown, East Stroudsburg, Pa.
When a kid from a Pocono high school makes the NFL, it is worth noting. It's long-shot land, which was what Neild was on draft day in April after a stellar career at nose tackle at West Virginia.
He was the next-to-last player picked in the draft, one step away from being the 2011 Mr. Irrelevant. With the presence of newly acquired Barry Cofield and the return of Antonio Bryant, Neild, a seventh-round pick, was a long shot to make the Washington roster.
But when the final cuts were made by Mike Shanahan, Neild was still around.
"I don't even think about the draft anymore," Neild said in the Redskins' locker room after Sunday's win. "I am where I am right now."
Right now, he is Chris Neild -- "The Pocono Punisher."
"I like that name," Neild said -- the nickname I put on him once I learned he was from Stroudsburg.
Neild expected to get some playing time Sunday. But he didn't expect to come up with two sacks.
He felt particularly good after his first sack in the third quarter, dropping Manning for a 6-yard loss.
"That was a missed assignment," he said. "I didn't hear the blitz change. Luckily it turned out for the best. It's loud out there."
Nose tackles generally are not sack machines. His job is to stuff the middle and give the other rushers a shot at sack glory.
"I told him at this pace he'll be a Hall of Famer," Cofield said.
Ross said while he was impressed with his former player's debut, he wasn't totally surprised.
"That is the kind of kid he is and how he was when he played for me," Ross said. "He is a heck of an athlete and a great kid. He's the best."
He is the "Pocono Punisher."