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How close did you come to playing in the NFL?
#1
Zeprock posted an interesting thread over on the baseball forums asking the question of how far did you make it in baseball. Figured I'd shamelessly steal the thread and rebrand it for football.

I played lots of pickup two-hand tag games growing up. Freshman year in Iowa I played offensive guard for the scout team... about as banished as you could be on the frosh squad. The conference had a 5th quarter rule that let bench warmers get in for some game time once the official game was over which was cool, I got to play a couple minutes. Mostly I was the slowest and poorest conditioned guy on the team.

Moved back to Chicago Sophomore/Junior years and played in the Chicago Park District flag football league. We also all scrimmaged against each other playing full tackle without pads. Ah to be a dumb teenager again. It was these years I added inches and weight.

Senior year we move to northern Wisconsin. We toured the high school towards the end of my junior year and I recall the head coach seeing me in the lunch room, shooting up from the table and walking over to me and my mom asking me if I'd play football next year. I said I would! We move up and in training camp I won the starting left tackle post for the varsity team and started all 9 games, earning the most improved player of the year award. I don't recall my bench or squat numbers but I ran the 40 in 6.09 seconds.

I was recruited by half a dozen small schools (mostly DIII and one JuCo) in the IA/MN/WI area and visited 3 of them, settling on Carroll College (now University). As a freshman in training camp I secured the 2nd string right guard position but wound up leaving the team to focus on studies. The guys were putting in a ton of time in film study and weight room and being the only computer science major on the team I didn't have time to balance all that plus play massive amounts of video games Wink.

Years later work colleagues and I start up a work "league" that's two-hand touch and all about raining TDs all over the field. And yes, I did make custom cards for everyone this last year and it was AWESOME!

High school pics









Upper Deck card back when you could order them through their website




The work league


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#2
Very Cool Customs...nice story Mr 77!
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#3
I was in marching band and got to march on a few NFL fields in high school and college.

We'd play touch football before band practice in college. I once caught a hail mary, was out the back of the "end zone." Another time I caught a pass, and broke the first joint on my left ring finger. For touch football, the drummers were ruthless, I got blindside blocked by a 400 pound bass drummer and did a midair flip.

I have a "no-contact" disability that could kill me at the wrong angle. I was 18-21 and didn't care, YOLO, etc.. and besides, it was "touch." I still regret telling my mom about that last one.

So yeah, no NFL for this card collector.
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#4
In my dreams? Lol. I fell in love with football at age 8. I was chunky, not very strong, but tough. We played every day with friends. I ended up being the QB most of the time as I had the best arm amongst my friends. Fast forward to high school. I'm pumped...I love the contact and physical challenges. I'm dying to play, and I finally get permission from my parents. Only problem is, I'm home schooled. Some states that isn't an issue, but in WI, if you are home schooled, you can't play on highschool teams, even if you enroll in a class. Even though we pay the same amount into the school system, we can't play. Why? Becuase we might take a scholarship away from a "more deserving" student (less money for the high school if one of their kids is passed over). Yes, I'm still angry and bitter lol. So, my friends and I played tackle football every chance we got. If we couldn't play tackle, it was two hand touch. I was never the fastest or most athletic, but I learned to compensate and play smart and learned the angles. I had several people who were coaches or involved in football tell me I could easily play college ball if I could learn the playbooks. My best friend and I were thinking of trying to walk on either at the UW (Big 10), or UW Stevens Point (Division II), but we decided to take a year off between high school and college as we weren't sure what we wanted to study. Unfortunately that year I contracted a severe form of Lyme Disease, and haven't been able to play since. It hurts, and I always wonder what might have been. I'm not sure I would've made it to the big boy league, but playing college was a dream for me! I've had my eyes on the semi-pro leagues for years, but I'm still sick, and my age is getting to the point I probably shouldn't risk the injury possibilities, but who knows? I can't wait for someday to get out there and throw a ball again, hit someone, get hit. I loved those messy days, rainy or at the end of fall with just a little snow on the ground...the chill in the air, the grunt as I plowed through someone, sliding feet at a time after a diving tackle or catch, lol. The list goes on. Sorry, maybe TMI, but it's something I sorely miss!
And those custom cards are awesome JP!
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#5
Gotta ask. What is a Hodag?
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#6
Does it count if I won multiple Super Bowl rings in Madden 09?

If not nothing past pee wee.

Love the cards, I think my mom may have some of my custom baseball cards from the late 80s.
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#7
High school offensive lineman. Coach said I had to choose between football and cigarettes. I chose the wrong one.

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#8
The closest I came to playing in the NFL is growing up with Julio Jones. Does that count? lol
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#9
(05-03-2020, 11:00 AM)dogger99 Wrote: Gotta ask. What is a Hodag?
It's a mythological creature that is said to roam the north woods of Wisconsin. Also the raddest original mascot a high school could ever ask for! It was retroactively added to the roll call of Fantastic Beasts and featured in an episode of Scooby Doo.

(05-04-2020, 03:02 PM)collectorsnet Wrote: High school offensive lineman. Coach said I had to choose between football and cigarettes. I chose the wrong one.
Ahah, so you chose offensive line too Wink

(05-05-2020, 10:19 AM)foleylion08 Wrote: The closest I came to playing in the NFL is growing up with Julio Jones. Does that count? lol
Counts as being baller!

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#10
(05-06-2020, 08:36 AM)jplarson Wrote: It's a mythological creature that is said to roam the north woods of Wisconsin. Also the raddest original mascot a high school could ever ask for!
My high school was called the Blue Streaks (seriously). They wanted to get a live mascot at one time so I suggested that they get a guy wearing a blue trench coat and running shoes. They didn't take that suggestion.

The high school has exactly three players who made the NFL - Howard Stevens in the 1970s, Akeem Jordan in the 2000s, and John Wade who graduated in my class (1993) and went on to play Center for Marshall (in the Chad Pennington-Randy Moss years) - was drafted by Jacksonville and became their starting center - he also played with Tampa Bay and Oakland. Good guy.

The closest I came to playing in the NFL was playing in a flag football game between the halves of the floor of my dorm in college that turned into a no pads tackle football game because college guys (several of whom were Rugby players). My half of the dorm lost by a ridiculous score like 64-6 and I got a concussion on a blindside block in kick coverage and then got a 97 on a test the very next morning. Good times.
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