A FOOTBALL ROOKIE FREE AGENT HANDBOOK

 

By Jodi J. Woodruff, Esq.

nfl@jodiwoodruff.net

October, 27, 2018

 

Preface:

I want to thank the following people for helping me put this ebook together:


1.  Derrick Fox (Agent)

2.  Steven Baker (Agent)

3.  Christopher Murray (Agent)

4.  Leigh Steinberg (Agent)

5.  Scott Casterline (Agent)

6.  Michael Hayes (Agent)

7.  Zach Hibdon (IFL Scout & Representative)

8.  Joe Theismann (Player)

 

Without out them, and their helpful influence, this would have been meaningless!  Thanks so much for your time and patience and dedication to players and their well-being.  As one agent stated, “I’m sympathetic to all of these players.”  And that, they all are.  Thanks, for being – just great! 

I also want to give a special shout out to my Mother – for all of her kindness and support she has given me.  And to my brother, my Aunt Jayne, my family, co-workers, and friends.  Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today!  Thanks also for being the greatest!

 

Some background on me might be useful.  I have written 2 legal treatises/books on the NFL Free Agency Issue:  “NFL Free Agency” and “Free Agency in Pro. Football”.  This deals with Veteran Free Agency.  (explained in Chapter 1.) 

 

However, many players see that I write for “free agency” in general and come to me, looking for assistance in getting attention to themselves with the pros.  So, I have a web site “Free Agency In Pro. Football” that covers all realms of free agency, and I have written this ebook – to help.  (Hopefully.)

 

I have a law degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law.  I studied the NFL Free Agency legal issues there.  (I spent two years profiling veteran free agency in law school.)  After many years of law, I transitioned into IT.  I held that career for many years.  I finally ended all of my career routes to write the books I wrote on free agency.  I created the first legal digest of NFL free agency issues. I wanted to devote my time exclusively to this.

I now focus full-time on free agency, run a private company that creates social media adverts design for the internet, and take on contract legal jobs from time to time. 

Before I went to law school, everyone told me that I would never make it to law school.  But, I knew from high school on that I wanted to be an attorney.  So I vowed that I would make it.  Not only did I make it, but Cincinnati is a top 10 public law school.  So, I made it good!  I’m very proud of that accomplishment.  So, I’m living proof, that despite what others’ say is impossible, can be done with hard work and perseverance. I hope that message is conveyed to you throughout the context of this novel.

 

Good Luck, and Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Jodi J. Woodruff

 

CHAPTER 1:  “Free Agency” Defined

Free agency – First of all, what is free agency?

This is actually a complex question.  Any player not signed to a team is a “Free Agent”.  However, there are different types of Free Agents.  Think of Free Agency as the umbrella that covers all free agents.  However, underneath the umbrella are different wings of free agents.

 

For example, there are “Rookie Free Agents”, “Veteran Free Agents”, “Restricted Free Agents” and “Street Free Agents”.   This is an important distinction.  I thought of entitling this book, “They Call Them ‘Street Free Agents’” for example.  But then, I found out that “Street Free Agents” are actually different from Rookie Free Agents.  The definitions are as follows:

  1. Rookie Free Agent:  A new player to the Leagues, who did not get drafted, and hasn’t signed with the NFL yet.

  2. Veteran Free Agents:  Players who were drafted to the NFL and signed with a team.  Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with the NFL, these players must play 4 seasons with the NFL before they can become “unrestricted free agents”.

  3. Restricted Free Agent:  A player who was drafted with the NFL and signed with a team is restricted, under the CBA, until he plays four seasons with the NFL.  Then they become “Unrestricted Free Agents”.

  4. Street Free Agents:  Players who have played for the NFL but get cut early from a team.  They are considered “street free agents”.

 

So all players free to market themselves to the highest bidder are “Free Agents”.  But, there are different tiers or categories of “Free Agents”.

 

This book only covers “Rookie Free Agents” in pro. Football.

CHAPTER 2: So, You Want to Play for the NFL?

So, you want to play for the NFL, right?  Probably yes, or you wouldn’t be reading this.  But how?  First, you should note that the chances of making it into the NFL are next to none.  Every year 10,000 new players are added to the potential list of candidates.  But, only 250 make the final cut (after you rule out all the returning players.)  The total number of players that make the final teams is around 1,792.

 

So, it is very difficult to make it into the NFL.

 

Second, you need to know that the NFL has stopped running regional combines/try-outs.  However, they do offer private work-outs with teams from time to time.  (I’ve seen that a lot with players.)  The only official try-out now for the NFL is the invite-only yearly Indianapolis event.  That makes it much more difficult to get attention from the NFL.

 

However, as a side note, “Beyond Sports Network” offers a combine to people who didn’t make the NFL one.  It does get attention from NFL recruiters and is a great combine to attend.  The company can be found at www.beyondsportsnetwork.com.   Jimmy Kimble is well known and very respected in the industry.  He is in charge of Beyond Sports Network.

 

Third, however, there are plenty of success stories of players who went undrafted and later went on to become football greats.  These stories are highlighted in Chapter 4 of this book.  Hometown greats like Kurt Warner and Adam Thielen lived their dream or are living their dream and they started by playing in their home state teams:  Iowa and Minnesota respectively.  So it definitely can happen – so if you have a dream, live it to its fullest.

 

This book will provide tips on how to do that with excellence.  I hope it helps.

 

Chapter 3:  Living Your Dream

How do you get into the NFL or into a Professional Football League?  For that, I went to the agents for help.  I interviewed more than 5 pro. Agents and received their feedback on this question.  Their comments were very similar.  5 agents that I talked with had over 25 years of experience in the industry.  1 agent I talked to had 4.  So their background was diverse, yet their message was the same.

 

Many agents that I talked to brought up the importance of good, solid film to back you up.  They said that is the number 1 thing teams look for, is solid film.  According to these agents, this film is looked at to see if you measure up to a team’s particular playing style, or schema.  According to Leigh Steinberg, one of the agents that I interviewed, each team has it’s own style of play or “system”.  They are very systematic.  Film is a good way of seeing whether you match their system.

According to Leigh, you don’t want to get on a team that doesn’t match your style of play.  That is bad.  You won’t get any playing time and the stats you get from it will be lousy.  So, he and other agents agree, do your homework.  Study teams like you are going into a game day.  Focus on teams that match your natural style of play.

 

Second, all of the agents that I talked to stressed the importance of having a good agent.  They said, don’t settle for someone just because they are an agent. Do your homework on them.  Research them and make sure they have a strong network and background in football so they can be helpful.  All the agents that I talked to are very well connected with the football scene.  They have gotten this through good old fashion hard work on the player’s behalf, or through years of quality experience in the industry.

 

The NFLPA is a great resource for NFL agents.  They offer a free list that you can use to research whether an agent you choose is NFL certified.  Ask for references from a new prospective agent.  They should be able to give you these – if they are credible.

 

If you don’t have one, start with someone like Michael Hayes.  Michael works for NA3 Sports (www.na3sports.com).  He is located in Texas.  He does a lot of CFL and AAF placements.  His partner focuses on NFL and has a law degree.  He’s a good starting point.  If he can’t help you, he might be able to direct you to someone who can.  At least, he can tell you why he can’t help you.  i.e. What you are missing.  I highly recommend Michael.  I see big things for his agency.

 

Another good lead is Zach Hibdon.  Zach works for Athelite Scouting.  (www.athelitescouting.com)  He can help you get attention with the IFL (Indoor Football League) and some CFL teams.  He has a database of players that he uses to fill these positions.  It costs money, but the amount is trivial and the reward is great!  He’s very good at placing players with teams.  If he can’t help you, he can at least direct you to someone who can.  (Or, he can tell you why he can’t help you.  i.e. what you are missing.)

 

Third, most the agents that I talked to agree that stats are critical measurements of your ability to play well in the League.  These are objective criteria that teams use to measure your skills versus others.  The most important of these are your 40 yard dash, the short shuttle, your long jump, vertical jump, and how many weights you can press.

 

They all stressed the importance of preparing for these stats opportunities like preparing for an important State Track Meet.  They said the key is doing well under the pressure of a pro day or a try-out.  They said this demonstrates you can play well “under pressure” (like in a game situation.) 

They all stressed the importance of truly practicing for your stats.  Treat it like you are playing for a team and everything is on the line.  (Because it is.  I’ve heard of wonderful players who had bad showings at stat. dates and therefore have not made the final cut.)

 

Fourth, speaking of try-outs, all agree that try-outs are critical to your success.  There is no substitute for getting in front of these recruiters or agents and strutting your stuff – that makes you great.  You should treat these try-outs like you are preparing for a game.  You should train for these and truly come prepared.  I suggest 5 – 10 try-outs to really get your name out there.  (Every agent I talked to eluded to a “Try-Out” road show where they took players to try-out upon try-out before they got signed to a particular team.)

 

One agent suggested the player focus on a career, absent football.  This is necessary to earn the proper money it takes to try-out for these Leagues.  Plus, like he said, football is temporary.  Whereas, your life goals are permanent.  So try to see if you can find means of income to support yourself.  A way of earning money that will let you go to these try-outs as needed, of course.

 

Fifth, staying physically fit.  This is where the videos come in.  Teams want to see your College stats, and then next – they want to know how you have maintained your body since then.  Videos of you working out and staying in shape fill in the gaps for teams that are concerned that you may not be up to your college days as an athletic performer.

 

Sixth, hand-in-hand with 5, at least two agents suggested you get a personal trainer.  One agent said, “wouldn’t that be obvious”.  To which, I said, “No, it isn’t obvious to these young players.”.  Another agent said good speed coaches are a dime a dozen.  So they are not hard to find.  One agent said try a local performance center like Michael Johnson Performance Center or Exos (A famous performance center with sites worldwide.) [www.teamexos.com]  to stay in top physical condition.

 

Many agents suggested you rely on your local college for one.  Many Colleges offer strength and conditioning coaches to help former athletes.  They said be sure to tap your local area resources.

Another great place to get attention for yourself, some film footage, and a foot in the door is the State Developmental Football League.  (SDFL)  This costs money but the attention to details in your career path is invaluable.

 

Seventh, have great references.  Team personnel and scouts love Coach and College references.  They especially like referrals from your coach him or herself.  So, without a doubt, tap into all of your prior coaches looking for help to get attention for yourself.

Eighth, approach all leagues as an opportunity to showcase your talent and stay fit.  However, if you join the Indoor Football League, or something like it, make sure you are still practicing on outside field turf every day. 

 

They say to watch videos of teams and practice outside daily just like you are on a professional team.  Never lose touch with the outdoor field.  That quote came from an Indoor Football guy.  He said, many of his players want to play pros, but don’t do what it takes to stay in touch with a pro field while playing indoor.  He said, “they should always be practicing two to three times per week on a pro. Field.”.  That advice came from the best, one who knows what it takes to make it.

Ninth, recognize that indoor football and the CFL are different than the NFL.  The only League right now coming out that is a potential farm league for the NFL is the AAF.  (American Alliance of Football).  There is another League slated to come out in the 2020’s (I think it’s called the XFL) that is also a potential farm league for the NFL. 

 

But remember, all these are leagues are not congruent with the NFL.  So you really have to sell yourself to the NFL when playing for these Leagues.  It’s not like baseball and basketball.  The IFL and CFL are not “minor leagues” to the NFL.  Their style of play is different.

 

Tenth, really market yourself to teams and team personnel.  Send videos and bios to them.  Make sure you are focusing on teams that match your style of play.  Network with team personnel and scouts to maximize your opportunities for play.  More on how to send them a digital resume is coming in the future in this novel. 

 

Finally, I talked to Joe Theismann personally.  He played for the CFL and then went on to be the great Joe Theismann, Quarterback for the Washington Redskins.  He gave some very encouraging advice!  He said, “don’t wait for someone to hand you the opportunity to play, find them!”  “Go for it!”.  He said to take the initiative and be a go getter.  His advice was when the chips are down, just “Keep knocking on those doors!”  (until one opens.)

CHAPTER 4:  Some Undrafted Player Profiles for You

The opportunities to play undrafted are many.  The following case examples demonstrate that.  So most importantly, never lose hope.  That next league is right around the corner!

Here are some case examples of players who have made it big, yet were not initially signed to NFL teams.  I hope that these inspire you to pursue greatness.

  1.  WARREN MOON. QB Seattle Seahawks, Houston Oilers, MN Vikings, KC Chiefs [1984-2000]

Warren Moon was an NFL great.  He was a 9 time pro bowler and an MVP in the Pro Bowl in 1998.  In 1990, he was the NFL passing touch down leader.  He is in the NFL Hall of Fame.   In fact, he’s the first African-American Quarterback to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  He is also the first undrafted Quarterback to make the Hall of Fame.

 

However, did you know Warren Moon was even greater in the CFL?  He was a 5 times Grey Cup Champion and was a Grey Cup MVP twice.  He even won the CFL Most Outstanding Player award in 1983.

 

How did Warren Moon do it?  How did he get attention from the NFL, starting in the CFL?

First, he had great, eye-popping stats with the CFL.  He played over 6 seasons with the CFL, winning Grey Cups on multiple occasions.  Lesson Learned from Warren Moon – Patience my friend, it is a time game.  Keep working where you are at for a number of years.  Strive to be the best, and people WILL notice you – whether they like it or not.

 

Second, when talking to his Agent, Leigh Steinberg, he said this was planned.  They worked out a five year contract intentionally with the CFL, knowing it would expire in his prime in the Leagues.  From there, it was a travelling road show, trying out from team to team until he received “the right contract” to grow and develop from.

 

Remember, for the longest time, Warren Moon was the highest paid contract in the NFL – in his prime.

 

So, lessons to be learned here:  Patience, patience, patience…if you don’t get drafted, don’t lose heart.  Plan out a game plan, like Warren Moon did, to achieve excellence in the future. See the long term, and go for it!  Never give up.  Road Show, Road Show, Road Show – try out with multiple teams whenever possible and keep getting on the radar of the NFL.  Do what you can, when you can to get attention for yourself.

 

Finally, having a great agent, like Leigh Steinberg, also helps!  He or She can open doors for you and orchestrate this type of process.  Applying for the NFL can be somewhat expensive – you need a personal trainer and many, many try-outs/combines to get their attention.  A good agent can help offset the costs of this development.

 2. JOHN RANDLE.  Defense Tackle, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks [1990 – 2003]

John Randle was known for his ability to sack Quarterbacks when it counted.   In fact, he was the NFL sacks leader in 1997.  But did you also know that John Randle was a 7 time Pro Bowler and is in the NFL Hall of Fame? 

 

John was unsigned and undrafted.  He came from a D2 college and was known for being “too small” for his position.  [In fact, to get signed for the Vikings, he had to hide chains under his sweats to get his weight up to the minimum required by the Vikings.] 

 

However, he was also known as a Sack Machine in College.  Granted, this was not Division 1, but he had 37 sacks in two seasons during his undergrad. Years.  For his size, 235 lbs back then, that was amazing.

 

So John had great stats – eye-popping stats. From College to fall back on.  Plus, he had a brother who played for the NFL in Tampa Bay.  [The lesson here:  Never dismiss a useful relationship as a potential resource to get hooked up with the NFL.]  Having a brother in the NFL, got him attention with other teams in the NFL and a try-out with Tampa Bay.

 

He also had a great agent.  Scott Casterline has over 35 years of experience with representing players and knows just about everyone.  He has a great reputation in the industry.  He agreed to help John as a freebee as he already repped his brother professionally.  [Once again, never discount family/personal recommendations in the Agency business – can’t hurt, might help.]

 

While shopping John as a possible candidate for the Pros, many teams came back and said they would try him out as a Linebacker instead of his native position – Defensive End.  But his agent talked John out of that.  He said his best chance was playing the position he knew best – so he should hold out for a better offer.

 

Hold out, he did.  Finally, the Minnesota Vikings offered John a chance to try-out as a Defensive Tackle.  He took it.  Eventually, he made the team and the rest has been history.  The Vikings are known for their prudent eye for strong undrafted talent.  And, in times like John Randle’s era, this prudence  has paid off.

 

Lessons to be learned from this:  Get seen by everyone and anyone during your time of trial.   If you are a D2 college player, find some statistics to “Wow” over the NFL with your amazing song!  Rely on your family and personal links for one.  And keep pounding the pavement until you get that “perfect fit”.  Every team is different.  Make sure you play with the one team that offers everything you are strong at.

   3. Kurt Warner, QB St Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals [1998 – 2009]

 

Kurt Warner is the poster child for rookie unsigned free agents.  They say he went from bagging groceries in a grocery store to the great Kurt Warner from the St. Louis Rams who won the Super Bowl and was Super Bowl MVP.

 

What many do not know about Kurt Warner is he played 2 years for the Iowa Barnstormers.  From Iowa, Kurt went to school and college in Iowa.  He did not win a championship for Iowa, but he was 2 time First Team of All Arena and is in the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame.  His number 13 has also been retired.  (He is also in the Arena Football Hall of Fame.)

 

His stats as a pro NFLer are incredible.  He was the NFL passing yards leader in 2001.  He’s a 2 time passing touchdown leader in the NFL.   He is also a 2 time passer rating leader with the NFL.  He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2017.  He is the only player inducted into both the  Arena Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame.

 

As a side note, he also played a year for a European football league in Amsterdam before signing with the NFL.  Also, he did have a tryout with the Green Bay Packers out of College.  They rejected him.

 

I wish I could tell you more about Kurt’s personal story, but his agency that represented him could not take my interview as there is being made a movie about Kurt right now.  Yea! – Go Kurt.

But, I can tell you this – Lessons learned by Kurt’s example:  Always believe in yourself.  Take it from Kurt Warner’s story, a true Iowa “Field of Dreams” story – if you believe you will persevere.  Play those couple of years in arena, build up video footage and stats that will make you proud.  And even if you have to work in a grocery store, never give up on your dream – because it can and will happen!

4. Joe Theismann, QB Washington Redskins [1974 – 1985]

Joe Theismann is great – there is no doubt about that!  First off, he is a Super Bowl Champion!  Second, he was the NFL’s MVP.  Third, he was a 2 time pro bowler.  Fourth, he is in the NFL Hall of Fame. 

Wow! What a wonderful career.  But did you know he started his career in Canada with Toronto?  Joe Theismann was the runner up for the Heismann Trophy award in college. Despite that, he was drafted in the 4th round – the 99th spot.  He was signed with the Miami Dolphins.  Joe wasn’t happy with the terms of the contract, so he played out his 2 year option with the Toronto Argonauts instead.  He then went on to sign with the Redskins, and the rest is history!

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Joe a little bit about his time with the NFL.  I asked him what advice does he have for new rookie free agents?  He said the key is to look for the one team that has the system you can best play in.  (Agents like Leigh Steinberg and Scott Casterline have stressed this as well.)

He said, don’t wait around for opportunities to come to you.  Go out and actively find these!  He suggested you make telephone calls to clubs that meet your needs after studying them in film.  Every club has try outs, you just have to find these.  Be aggressive.  Take the initiative and be a “Go Getter”. 

Go to every and all tryout camps and free agency camps to be seen by the pros.  And most of all, just, “Go For It!”.  Keep knocking on doors and be a “go getter”.

That is advice straight from Joe to you.  Lessons already learned. No need to summarize here!

5. Adam Thielen, WR Minnesota Vikings [2013 – Present]

Adam is a story much like Kurt Warner.  Like Kurt in Iowa, Adam was born and raised in Minnesota.  Like Kurt in Iowa, Adam went to school in the Minnesota state college system.  But unlike Kurt from Iowa – who went to St. Louis to play, Adam is living the dream and playing for his home team – The Minnesota Vikings.

And, he is doing well.  He has already gone to one pro bowl – in 2017.  Plus he has currently tied a record in the NFL set in 1961 – 100 yards per game for seven consecutive games.  Adam is living proof that you can play for a D2 college, not get drafted, and still live your dreams and play for the pros.

Adam ran a 4.49 in the 40 yd. dash.

6.  Case Keenum, QB Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, LA Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos [2012 – Present]

Case’s story is much like Warren Moon.  Warren played 5 years for the CFL before getting his “day in court in the NFL”.  Case is much the same.  He played 5 years in the NFL as an undrafted player before getting “his day in court” in Minnesota for the Vikings. 

There, he was a third string Quarterback.  However, the first two Quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford) were injured.  So he was put in.  And, play he did!  He almost took the Vikings to the Superbowl that year.  If it wasn’t for the Eagles, who eventually won the Superbowl, the Vikings (with Case Keenum) would have been in the Super Bowl.  Not bad for a third string Quarterback!

He now starts for the Denver Broncos, under the tutelage of the great John Elway (who is the General Manager for the Broncos.)  Great things are expected from Case.  Not bad for an undrafted rookie!  By the way, he ran 4.89 in the 40 yd dash. 

7. Bobby Singh G, St. Louis Rams [1999]

Here is an interesting story, told to me by an agent.  It’s about a player named “Bobby Singh”.  Bobby went undrafted in the NFL but got signed to an NFL team by his agent.  (Derrick Fox)  From there, he won a Super Bowl Ring.  (for the St. Louis Rams)  He then played for the CFL.  From there, he won the Grey Cup.  He then, played for the XFL (A now defunct league). He won their championship. 

He is the first player in the pros to win 3 championships.  And he did all this without being drafted initially into the NFL.  Check him out.  He is listed in the Wikipedia for this.

Congratulations Bobby.  That is quite an accomplishment!  It just goes to show you the power of an undrafted free agent in the pros!

8. Jeff Garcia, QB, 49ers, Cleveland, Oakland, Detroit, the Eagles, Tampa Bay, Texans [ 1999 – 2011]

The reason I include Jeff in this list is he demonstrates how you can make a career in the NFL without being drafted!  Jeff was undrafted.  He played 4 years with the CFL.  He then was picked up by the 49ers.  In his career, he went on to play in 4 Pro Bowls, which is pretty difficult for a QB.  During his time in Canada, he was a Grey Cup champion and an MVP.

His agent said, the key with Jeff was to find a team that would take an interest in him.  (Which they did do.)  Every team has its own system and style.  Many agents have reported that to me.  So, his agent (Steve Baker) said they really pushed him to teams that could incorporate his style of play.  One coach took an interest in him, and it went from there. 

He first got his start because starting QB Steve Young was injured.  So, fluke and fortune played into Jeff’s success.  4 seasons for the CFL and over 10 seasons for the NFL, not bad for an unsigned, undrafted rookie!

9.  Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys [2003 – 2016]

Tony is another success story that started without being drafted with the NFL.  He got picked up by the Dallas Cowboys and started as a ball holder.  He went on to play in 4 Pro Bowls and broke numerous records in the NFL and with the Cowboys.  (NFL passer rate leader, 2014; with Dallas he has the team records for passing touchdowns, passing yards, most games with at least 300 passing yards, and most games with 3 or more touchdown passes.)

He brought his team to the playoffs 4 times.  His 97.1 passer rate is the fourth highest of all times and the highest amongst QBs who did not make it to the Super Bowl.

 

10. Antonio Gates, TE, Los Angeles Chargers (San Diego Chargers)  [2003 – Present]

 

Antonio has a funny story in his background.  He played basketball in College, and, therefore, went undrafted with the NFL.  But – a Superstar – he is! 

 

Antonio went on to play in 8 pro bowls and is a stats leader in a number of areas.  (The Chargers' career leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.  In 2015, he became the second tight end and ninth player overall to record 100 career touchdown receptions.  He ranks sixth in career touchdown receptions, with 115, and leads all active players in this category. He has the most touchdown receptions among tight ends in NFL history.)

 

He is on the NFL 2000’s “All Decade Team”, and the San Diego Chargers 50th Anniversary Team.

These are just a handful of the many players who have become great in the NFL, yet weren’t drafted, or came from the Canadian Leagues – as a cross over.  There are many more examples of great players who have played in the NFL, coming out of the CFL or undrafted.  If you want to read more on this, here is a list of names of these other players.

 

Emlen Tunnell, James Harrison, Cliff Harris, Lou Groza, Wes Welker, Adam Vinatieri, Willie Brown, Chris Harris, Danny Amendola, Priest Holmes, Dick Lane, Emmitt Thomas, Marion Motley, Drew Pearson, Joe Perry, Dave Grayson, Larry Little, Jason Peters, Coy Bacon, Rod Smith, Joe Jacoby, London Fletcher, Cornell Green, Willie Wood, Donnie Shell, Nate Newton, Cameron Wake, Jeff Saturday, Rod Smith, and Brian Waters.

 

If you want to look these players up, anyone of their stories will inspire you, and help you to believe you can do it – especially when others say that you can’t!

 

CHAPTER 5:  Building Your Professional Football Digital Resume

This is where I come into play:  Building your professional digital football resume. 

 

I offer a free web site, The Wall [www.thewall.rocks]  where players can get listed with all the right stuff to get attention for themselves with the pros.

 

What I offer:  A digital site with, hopefully tons of pictures of you, your stats and personal information, your bio, and your video footage.  All in one convenient place.

 

This is the first program on the web that provides everything a player needs to send to teams in one place to get attention for themselves.  It’s a web site format, with music.  (Music that rocks, like the powerful rock songs used by the NFL and loved by your average recruiter.)

 

To sign up for this, you can email me at nfl@jodiwoodruff.net, or go to “THE WALL” [www.thewall.rocks].  I’m more than happy to help.  If you can’t afford to pay for this service, I do offer free sites for situations of hardship.  I’m very generous, in favor of the player.  So, don’t be afraid to ask.

 

CHAPTER 6:  The Contents of Your Professional Resume

I’d be remiss if I didn’t get into the details of what makes a solid resume.  So this is what follows here.

  1.  Stats:  Compelling stats.  Have you broken records in your area?  What is your best 40? Your Short Shuttle?  Your vertical jump, long jump?  What do you bench press?  All this is critical to those viewing your profile.  So make sure you have eye-popping stats!  (To quote Leigh Steinberg on this issue.)

  2. Video Footage:  Lot’s of video footage.  The point of this is to show your style of play, that you are still playing, and that you are still fit for the task.  Footage from College and recent footage is best.  Even footage of you working out in preparation for the pros is worthwhile.  The more footage, the better.  Include a lot of video clips in your portfolio!

  3. A Bio:  In your bio, it’s time to brag about yourself.  What do you do best. (Never add what you do worst! This is a resume, so keep it positive.)  Go back to high school.  Dig into your past. What awards and commendations have you won?  Surely, you have these.  All are relevant and make you a distinct player attribute to a new team.  Did you break records?  Not only is this visible in the stats, but also highlighted in your bio. 

  4.  Pictures:  Include a lot of pictures of yourself.  Headshots and football shots.  People love images.  We are 90% image oriented in our mindset.  So make sure you have a lot of pictures to add to your portfolio.

 

If you don’t have compelling stats, get into the IFL or European League or State Developmental League to get some compelling info!  The worst thing you can do is sit out two years from college and think you are going to get into the NFL.  Not without play time and videos and stats!

 

You’ve worked too hard to blow it now, keep you the faith!

 

I had one guy land an agent because he went to a CFL try-out and ran fast and scored four touchdowns.  So you never know where your next lead will come – like Joe Theismann did say, “Get out there and find it!  Go for It!”.  Be the best, and good things will come. 😊

Chapter 7:  In Closing

In closing, remember the Kurt Warner exception, as one agent said, “although they spend $1 millions of dollars on scouting, scouting is not perfect.”  You too can be the next Kurt Warner or Adam Thielen story.  It just takes time, patience, and perseverance.  Most of all, good old fashion hard work. 

 

Remember: Good Stats, Great Video, a lot of interaction with teams, a travelling road show of try-outs, and a well-organized plan will lead you to success.  Good luck and Happy Playing!

- Sade
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