One of my longtime clients has become a real friend, and we talk/email/text often. He’s an agent, and we often talk about issues in the business. The other day, he posted an email he received recently (he omitted the name and all references to the person who sent it). I think it illustrates how some people have no idea how truly skilled and talented an NFL player is.

Here’s the email he received:

“My name is (withheld). I am a (major university) graduate who did not play football. I tried to be on the team but was not eligible. And now I am trying to get back into football. I am 5’8″ and 185 lbs athletic. Growing up I always wanted to be an athlete but I was never knew how to be one because it’s secretive. I’m looking for a second chance, the NFL gives second chances please let me know if possible.”

Let me start by saying I admire this young man, for a couple reasons. No. 1, rather than bragging to his buddies that he could have played NFL football, he’s actually taken the next step. I also respect the fact that he doesn’t fill his email with a lot of bluster about how he’s 6’0″ and 200 pounds with a 4.4 40. With all of this said, how could anyone ever think that he has an NFL resume based on his failure to ever play football, even if it’s “because it’s secretive?” What’s more, why would a person who’s never played football and doesn’t have outstanding size/speed think he deserves a “second chance?”

My friend’s response was blunt. Too blunt? I don’t think so. While I respect this young man’s interest in pursuing his dreams, there are wild, impossible dreams and realistic ones, and any plans of playing in the NFL are in the former group. Here’s how my friend responded:

“No, it’s not possible. At all. Football isn’t a sport you can excel in unless you have played in your whole life. This is why the Olympic sprinters who have tried to play in the NFL could never make it. Even the world’s best athletes can’t make the transition without years of experience. Usain Bolt has 0 chance at making the NFL.”

You can argue about whether an athlete with world-class speed could some day make the transition to the NFL. Either way, the bottom line is that the NFL is not a place to launch your football career, and it’s unreasonable to think that someone’s not in the NFL simply because he’s slid under the radar his entire life.

The young man didn’t send back a hateful or snarky email. Instead, he remained confident of his skills:

“Thanks you will see me in an NFL uniform one day. Google search Nate Ebner and Jarryd Hane.”

I admire this young man’s resolve, but I’m hopeful that someday he comes to understand that only a very select few people can play in the National Football League.

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