I was recently asked by a sports agent to speak with one of his clients to give him a better understanding as to how the “business” of the NFL works and what his overall chances look like for playing in the NFL.
It was a fascinating conversation in that this young man articulated his wisdom without knowing that he was doing so. While never having made the 53-man roster despite having a few tryouts with teams, he was frustrated with the process of not having made it in the NFL. He is 3 years removed from his collegiate career and is now clumped together with a growing group of former college players and waived veteran players looking for another chance to play in the NFL.
I have spoken to many players in this mindset over the years, and each time I speak to one of them, I can hear the anger and frustration in their voices. They are either mad at their sports agent for not getting them a job with a team, or mad at the team they used to play for and blame them for not giving a fair chance. The truth is, the reason they are not playing in the NFL is because of their own ability or lack thereof. Now let’s be clear, it is not for lack of ability y in their overall skill set as a player, but the simply just do not fit the current plans for any one team. Sometimes a player’s salary is simply too high for what the team values his contributions for the team under current salary cap constraints.
I have always “told it like it is” to players, friends, and fans when comes to the business of the NFL, as harsh as that truth may be, but when a player understands how the “business” of the NFL works as articulated through my inner workings and personal experiences of the front-office, he comes to a better peace and understanding as to how and why he is the current predicament he is in.
I was a little caught off guard earlier today when again I received a phone call from another former NFL player (second in as many days) who has taken responsibility for his sports career not turning out as he had planned. He had figured he was doing all the right things, taking all the right steps, listening to his agent and trusting in his coaches. Come to find out he was never truly in control of anything other than being where he was told to be at the correct time and place. He admittedly realized that he did not know what he did not know. We spoke for sometime and he has now beginning to realize how much he was not in control of his life as a player. He had his days in the NFL and has now bounced around between the Canadian Football League (CFL), Arena Football, League, As he has now come to realize One of the biggest issues I see that faces semi-retired (closer to never playing again, than to ever playing again) players is that they have a lot of anger in their voice when trying to justify why they are not currently playing in the NFL.