The Hard Truths of Being Drafted by the NFL

Jordan Campbell NFL

For an athlete, being drafted by the NFL is a dream realized. Money, fame, celebrity – and  of course the assumption of a career. Like Hollywood experience, however, all that glitters is not gold. Although everyone has a different perspective and unique experience, it helps to know what’s on the path ahead.

In my case, it wasn’t about making millions of dollars, the diamond encrusted super watch or the personalize Maybach.  It wasn’t  that life changing experience. It was something more deeply personal – recognizing it as a challenge and a major goal. Yes, being in the NFL did help me chart the course of my life in an ultimately fulfilling role. But there were many, many learning curves on that road.

The money trap is what one would expect: it doesn’t take long for most athletes to realize that, despite it probably being the first time they ever saw that much money, the expected instant happiness doesn’t usually materialize. Instead, it creates many meaningless distractions and attracts a lot of fake people. Believe it or not, depression is also a typical by-product, since the dream is not as imagined. Suddenly it’s not about playing football anymore, it’s clearly now a business – and not the game that used to be fun.

I was a free agent, which presented an entirely new set of issues and insecurities. Was I going to make it? You don’t know if your job is secure and if you’re performing to expectations. Are you there make the team or just to service the team? At least when drafted, you know because the front office invested money in you, and this afforded you more opportunities than the free agent they acquired for a $5,000 signing bonus. In my case, I witnessed many players drafted by the NFL of lesser talent who were picked in many instances to justify the financial investment. The moral of the story is that the best guy doesn’t always make the team.

When you’re a guy in the later rounds, it’s not too comfortable. I never unpacked my bags because you never know when you’re going to be cut from the team. Uncertainty reigns. You are constantly having to prove yourself because you didn’t get drafted in the first few rounds. You aren’t a returning player either, you’re basically a guy with jersey and a number who’s there to give the starters a break.

Every now and then you see a guy who works his butt off and goes through the grind with the practice squad and ends up making the 53-man roster. That’s the guy who deserves everything because he understands the value of attitude– the guy who started from the bottom, really worked his way up with a sense of  humility. He was the one who learned to humble himself because he wasn’t a top draft pick.  Think Tom Brady, even after six Super Bowl wins, he is still the guy who wasn’t drafted until the 6th  round, let that sink in…. the most respected quarterback in history was a 6th round draft pick.  6 QBs were picked before Brady (Pennington, Carmazzi, Redman, Martin, Bulger and Wynn)

In short, it all comes down to attitude and persistence. My message to all rookies and kids breaking their backs trying to make it to the NFL – meet the right people, shake the right hands and remember it’s the people you meet along the way that count.  Also, don’t lose sight of the value the NFL brand can offer after you hang up your jersey. Football may be just a business, and you need to treat it as one, even if it’s theoretically a “game.”

It’s about going from a child to a man.  Being a 21 year old in the NFL can be both very exciting and very confusing at the same time. It’s the first time  you have whatever you want, since you can make millions of dollars, yet you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by people who want  something from you.  A lot of kids get swallowed up by the league.

With that said, there are short and long term rewards to be gained – as long as you keep perspective and the right attitude.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Peyush Bansal
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Lenskart CEO Peyush Bansal
Glovo
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Glovo
Grammarly
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Grammarly
Julian Teicke
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Julian Teicke
McDonalds
10 Stocks to Consider if you Like McDonald’s
Nintendo
10 Stocks to Consider if You Like Nintendo
Nike
10 Stocks to Buy That are Like Nike but Cheaper
Home Depot
10 Stocks to Consider if You Like Home Depot
Kingston
The 20 Best Places to Live in Rhode Island
Darmstadt
The 20 Best Places to Live in Germany
Dar es Salaam- Tanzania
The 20 Best Places to Live in Africa
Bar Harbor, ME
The 20 Best Places to Live in the Northeast
Lake Tahoe
The 20 Best Things to Do in Lake Tahoe for First Timers
Hong Kong Restaurant
The 10 Best Seafood Restaurants in Berkeley, CA
The Prince Sakura Tower
The 20 Best Hotels in Tokyo
Palmers Fresh Seafood
The 10 Best Seafood Restaurants in Lexington, KY
Everything We Know About Aston Martin’s Limited Edition V12 Speedster So Far
2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO
10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Lamborghini Huracan EVO
Ford Mustang Mach-E
20 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ford Mustang Mach-E
Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR
The Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept
Fossil Q Control
10 Best Fossil Smart Watches Money Can Buy
Stowa Prodiver Lime and Orange
The 20 Best Stowa Watches of All-Time
Spinnaker Hull California Automatic Black Tan
The 20 Best Spinnaker Watches of All-Time
Mido Multifort Automatic Anthracite Dial
The 20 Best Mido Watches of All-Time