By DJ Moore
I had just been released by the Carolina Panthers and had no team to play for. I called my agent about what my next step would be. He told me to sit tight, and he would make some calls. I was both nervous and excited about the opportunity to continue playing football. He finally called me and said, “I have a workout scheduled with the Detroit Lions.”
I had never gone through that process and did not know what to expect. I packed a couple of things, kissed my wife and kids, and headed off to the airport. I arrived at the team facility, greeted by a couple of people from the team to show me where I needed to go. I was not the only athlete desperate for work; another competitor sat in the locker room, ready to go. I strapped my cleats and walked into the indoor facility to warm up. About 10 minutes later, coaches and the GM walked in, and things get started. They stated that they wanted us to run a 40-yard dash and do various defensive back drills.
I declined the 40-yard dash and the DB drills. It dawned on me that I had walked into a full-on combine. The DB coach took us through various exercises at a rigorous pace. Both of us pushing ourselves because we knew that only one could make it. I did tremendous in the workout. I conversed with the coach and the GM afterwards, and then a scout led us back to the waiting area where we got dressed. Before he left me, he said, “Man, you were great, they will pick you.” My hopes at this point were very high.
I was then taken to see the team’s medical staff. They make sure your bones are in all the right places and talk about your medical history. We finished the medical evaluation and got back in the car that brought us to the facility. We sat in the vehicle with the driver and another gentleman who was to give us the news. I believe we sat in the car for a least an hour waiting on the word of whether the driver needed to take me to the airport or back to sign the contract at the facility.
The word finally came, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Back to the wife and kids I went with no job in sight. I continued this routine with 4 other teams, and each time my spirit was dragged through the mud. I was told I had a great workout, but it wasn’t the right time. Eventually, I had to realize that the NFL had moved on, and I needed to move on as well.
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