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View Full Version : An Undrafted Free Agent's Journey


Binkythefrog
11-23-2012, 01:44 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/magazine/the-hard-life-of-an-nfl-long-shot.html

This is a great read on the life of an un-drafted free agent - just makes me think how incredible it was for guys like Woodward, Harris, Carter and of course our favorite - Rod Smith to make it in the NFL. Its a neat glimpse beyond Hard Knocks into what life is like on the NFL bubble.

A contract was soon faxed to the Schillers’ home, its terms at once bleak and beguiling. Up front, Pat would receive just a $1,000 signing bonus, along with per diem expenses of $155 during spring camp. Should he make it as far as preseason training camp beginning in late July, the payment would be the N.F.L. Players Association’s stipulated $850 a week. The big money, big for a rookie at least, was all in the offing: the standard first-year salary of $390,000 he receives only if he makes and remains on the 53-man roster for the entire season. Should he be picked for the team’s eight-man practice squad instead, he would receive a salary of $5,700 a week, amounting to $96,900 over a 17-week season and more if the Falcons made the playoffs.

A tidbit on Mike Nolan -

Mike Nolan, a former defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, Jets and five other N.F.L. teams before being hired by Atlanta last winter, had just signaled for the “Threes,” with Pat at middle linebacker or “Mike,” to execute a “Dallas freeze,” a package featuring two blitzing linebackers. As one of the scheme’s designated blitzers, Pat shot toward the quarterback then deftly swerved inside a blocking fullback to get at his target. Another head-turning display, although in this instance for entirely the wrong reasons. Coaches love speed. They love schemes even more, and in that one Pat was designated to be the “contain man.” His responsibility was to go outside the blocking back to prevent the play from developing wide.

“Give me two good reasons,” Nolan’s voice boomed, “why you went inside.”

Pat went slack beneath a bowed helmet, then shrugged.

“That’s right!” Nolan replied. “Because there aren’t any!”

And finally - before the copyright cops get me - the moment he gets cut -

At just past 9:30 the following morning, Pat was back at the Flowery Branch facility getting a long-craved training-room massage when he got a phone call. It was from the Falcons’ football-operations office. They wanted to see him in the team-meeting room.

“I knew right then,” Pat told me. “I’m thinking, You have got to be kidding.”

Followers of HBO’s N.F.L. training-camp series “Hard Knocks” know this moment well: the solemn handing over of the team playbook, the heart-to-heart send-off by the coach. The Falcons, however, have players turn in their playbooks at the end of each week. Pat entered the meeting room empty-handed to see 16 other teammates with the same empty expressions. Among them were the other undrafted free-agent linebackers, Rico Council and Jerrell Harris, and also Spencer Adkins. The team was going with only five linebackers. Robert James got the fifth spot.

s0phr0syne
11-23-2012, 03:18 PM
Good read, but depresssing.

Jay3
11-23-2012, 05:48 PM
I thought it was kind of encouraging. He made the practice squad. That's some decent money and he's a pro.

I mean, I know we get emotionally caught up in the idea that it would be awesome to make it in the NFL, but I know plenty of people working at places like Jimmy John's and struggling to go to community college. In the big scheme of thinks, taking your one shot at being a pro is all right -- for the vast majority of players, the game ends at college.

baja
11-23-2012, 05:54 PM
I thought it was kind of encouraging. He made the practice squad. That's some decent money and he's a pro.

I mean, I know we get emotionally caught up in the idea that it would be awesome to make it in the NFL, but I know plenty of people working at places like Jimmy John's and struggling to go to community college. In the big scheme of thinks, taking your one shot at being a pro is all right -- for the vast majority of players, the game ends at college.

Actually high school

Or to be most accurate pee wee league

KipCorrington25
11-23-2012, 10:58 PM
Yeah sorry, I don't feel sorry for these guys. It would be a dream for 99.9% of us to get the chance to have gone to a training camp with an NFL team.