Now, We Sit and Wait

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via grfx.cstv.com



The plight of NFL hopefuls is like no other job interview. It starts with a challenging offseason workout program prior to their senior (or final) year. Then it moves to gruesome two-a day practices and through the physical beat down of the season. Then there are the mundane practices for a bowl game if your team’s worth a damn. The day after the bowl game most guys are on a flight to the destination where they’ll train twice a day preparing for the NFL Combine and Pro Days. After all the workouts, you sit and wait…

The plight of NFL hopefuls is like no other job interview. It starts with a challenging offseason workout program prior to their senior (or final) year. Then it moves to gruesome two-a day practices and through the physical beat down of the season. Then there are the mundane practices for a bowl game if your team’s worth a damn. The day after the bowl game most guys are on a flight to the destination where they’ll train twice a day preparing for the NFL Combine and Pro Days. After all the workouts, you sit and wait…

And that’s where the guys are today.

In no other job interview do you sit around for a month and listen to the analysis of what your 32 potential employers needs are and who can fill in those roles. Day after day, your agent calls you with thoughts and updates on discussions with teams: Who’s interested? Who’s not? What players are better? In what round will you get drafted? What do they think your weaknesses are? What potential position switches that might suit you? Whether they think football is important enough to you? The list goes on.

You’ll crap bricks trying to figure out what matters most to general managers, coaches and scouts. If you’ve had an amazing Pro Day, they may raise questions about your play on the field. If you look solid on film, then they may say your workouts were underwhelming. If you added weight because they said you were too light, now they may say you’ve lost a step. If you underachieved in college, they will question your effort and if you overachieved, they will question whether or not your level of play is sustainable. If you are an All-American quarterback with great production, they will pick on you about your Wonderlic score. And if you are a defensive tackle who took the LSAT or a safety who is a Rhodes Scholar, they will probably say you are too smart and that football isn’t important enough to you. But, if you failed a few drugs tests in college and at the combine they could still cut you a check, assuming you make up for it in other areas.

The NFL is most certainly a business and pretty close to a meritocracy and its workers are simply some the most freakish athletes on the planet. For every guy who ends up playing for even a few years after being an undrafted free agent, much less a Miles Austin, there are hundreds of guys who for the first time in their life just weren’t quite big, strong, or fast enough. If you had the work ethic, there’s no shame in it.

See where this is going? For the next month every draft eligible player who’s had the dream of playing in the NFL will never feel more anxious, vulnerable, insecure, or uncertain. Every phone call builds anxiety. Seconds feel like minutes and days feel like weeks. The mere opportunity shouldn’t be taken for granted; but, there’s no doubt the physical, mental, and emotional toll is paid in advance.

I wish these guys every success and empathize with every moment of apprehension and possible disappointment.

Hook ‘Em!

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