Full Circle

On March 1st, 2014 at Hebron High School in Plano, Texas I participated in the open tryout for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  An old coach of mine knew the assistant GM and I decided to attend in hopes of playing football this year.  I didn’t know what to expect from a CFL workout even though I have been at my fair share of open tryouts.  Just like the rest of the participants, I paid my $100 fee and made it out onto the school’s turf field to get warmed up.  There were players at all levels there, not to mention body types and ability levels.  I’m not really sure how everyone heard about the event, because I caught wind of it last minute.   But I was there.

There was one familiar face in the crowd, a quarterback I spent the offseason as a teammate for the Cowboys.  That was uplifting to say the least.  The main thing I wanted to accomplish from this workout was:
1. Find out my current physical status.
2. Find out where my skills are at this moment.
Needless to say, I came away with way more than I initially expected.  Part one was realized when I was able to bang out a 4.29 40yd dash (right up there with the top 40s at the combine), and followed it up with a 10′ 8″ broad jump.  I was pleased with those numbers.  Especially that I hadn’t formally trained for those events yet.  Mainly weightlifting and slight cardio for the past few months.

As I overheard my fellow participants speaking about feeling old (they were 25 at the most), and speaking with a few of them I realized a lot.

1.  These kids graduated high school when I was already playing pro ball.
2.  These kids are in the EXACT place I was when I was trying to make it to the NFL

I was instantly inspired to help and talk to as many guys that I could.  God had blessed me to be at that field for more than football purposes.  Everyone that participated was doing it because they loved the game of football.  There were fighting, scratching, and clawing at any opportunity to make the most of it, just as I did back in 2006.

If anyone that was at that workout is reading this, I want you to know that I applaud you and you have my support in all of your endeavors.  I want you to know that anything is possible if you work hard enough at it.  I know I was able to pass a couple of guys information onto a former coach of mine, and I hope something comes from it.

My path to the NFL definitely was not the easiest route, but it damn sure is Oscar worthy. (I’ll play myself, thank you very much)  But at the end of the day, it happened.  Being able to be back in that situation with guys that are hoping to do what I did .

In closing, this can apply to any and everyone, regardless of your age, sex, color, or creed.


Keep your nose to the grind, and go get your goal.


2 responses to “Full Circle

  1. I've been a fan of yours since your Redskins days and really enjoy keeping up with you. Quick question, does it bother you that the CFL charges $100 for a tryout? Do you think it potentially takes advantage of those who don't really have a shot or is it part of the business? Best of luck to you, AA!

    • Good question, Julie. The $100 fee that the CFL charges is way less than the $245 that the NFL charges for their regional combines. The CFL coaches said that they had to pay their own way and the workouts help raise money for the team. All in all, I think that if you are trying to play pro ball, you have to sacrifice in some capacity and a fee for a workout is just that.

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