Kevin Fitzhugh was offered a spot the New York Jets practice squad this week, but he turned them down because driving a train is a much better job.On the surface, playing on an NFL practice squad seems like a dream job. Get $5,200 a week to lift weights, attend meetings, run drills with football greats, and basically pretend to be a professional football player for a while.
And maybe, just maybe, get called up to The Show — dressing for an actual NFL game.
Except, as this Wall Street Journal story from earlier in the season showed, those heroic stories of guys who went from the B-team to the Pro Bowl are few and far between.
Most never make it to the 53-man roster, they suffer all the pounding and injury pain of a real football player (without any of the glory), and every time a short bald dude with a team polo shirt walks into the locker room, there’s a 1 in 8 chance you’ve just been fired.
One member of the Jets practice squad lived in a hotel this year because he wasn’t confident enough to pull the trigger on an apartment lease. Others go through surgeries and rehabs, then get cast aside without the insurance or golden parachute of a high draft pick.
If you’re a single guy, just out of college, maybe you can afford to bounce around your own personal fantasy camp for three years. (If you don’t have a full-time NFL job by then, you’re not allowed to continue.)
But if you’re a guy like Fitzhugh, with a disabled father to support, you can’t afford to goof around.
Maybe next fall.
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