The Hard Life of an N.F.L. Long Shot
“Dude,” he said, as I stood staring at his dresser. “I swear to God, if someone tells me right now there’s some miracle body cream out there that would make me feel 100 percent and prevent me from getting hurt but that could also cause cancer or liver damage down the line, I’d use it in a heartbeat. I would.”
He picked up an empty bottle of anti-inflammatory pills and tossed it in the trash. “Even if I make it,” he said, “the average career is what, three or four years tops. But if I get hurt now, I’m gone. It’s nothing personal. If I’m injured, I’m dead weight. I’m stealing their money. Do you know how many linebackers there are sitting home right now that want my job? Hundreds. I mean, let’s get real. As much as Coach Smith or Coach Pires might like me, it would be: ‘Hey, it’s been a fun ride. You’re a good kid. But see ya, Schiller!’ ”
What's life like for an undrafted NFL rookie? Look no further than this excellent piece by Charles Siebert. It's been sitting on our reading list for about a week, but it's well worth your time. It will also make you appreciate guys like Tony Carter, Chris Harris, and Wesley Woodyard that much more.
This piece also reminds me that I need to take the time to run the earnings numbers for a variety of NFL players over the course of different career scenarios and compare them to workers across several different fields. I'd like to really understand the opportunity costs associated with pursuing what amounts to a long shot for most of these kids coming out of school. After reading this article, one wonders if they really know what they're getting into.