Due to the NFL lockout, Mike Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert and Ahmad Black are still without NFL contracts, but time is their only enemy. As for Will Hill and many others who were undrafted, they must deal with a much more difficult uncertainty. Usually around this time of the year players like Hill or Chas Henry would be in mini-camp competing for a roster spot. Instead they are in a very tough dilemma: Continue to wait for the lockout to end or consider other opportunities and move on.
Some of these kids have been groomed all their lives to become NFL players and nothing else. As most of us all know, the path doesn't always work out as planned. Things happen, players get injured, maybe there's not enough talent or the NFL has a league wide lockout. So what else is there besides the NFL?
- Play football for another league
As of right now, Hill's dream of the NFL may have the same fate as my MLB pitching career. That doesn't mean Hill won't have a long career in the sport of football. Tim Tebow's predecessor Chris Leak is still enjoying his football career in the Canadian Football League. Not to mention one of Leak's favorite targets Dallas Baker had a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers but is now also playing in the CFL. Kurt Warner and Doug Flutie seemed to do alright not starting out in the NFL.
- Continue going to school as a graduate assistant for a career in coaching
Becoming a professional football coach takes years of training and just like becoming a professional football player, not everyone can do it. The knowledge from playing collegiate football for years is a big advantage. A lot of NFL coaches started out as grad assistants and worked their way up the coaching latter like old time Gator Lindy Infante. Plus if coaching doesn't work out, the extra years of school should hopefully land them a good job as a backup plan.
- Go back to school and get a degree or post graduate-degree
Former Gator players are lucky enough to walk away with a very valuable education that can be used as a tool to continue on in life with success. Becoming a doctor may not have been Will Hill's child hood dreams but at some point the child hood dreams have to end. Carlos Alvarez used his UF degree to propel himself into an even more prestigious school to become an attorney and still practices in Tallahassee, FL. (Will Hill may have to do a little extra work though to accomplish those type of goals.)
The longer this lockout lasts, the longer these players have to live with this tough dilemma. The sooner the the lockout ends the sooner some of these players can eventually reach their goal of becoming an NFL player. Even if they don't make the final roster, at least they can get some closure and move on.