Scott Sicko

TE Scott Sicko of New Hampshire

Can a NFL career be over before it begins? Scott Sicko things so.

Sicko played tight end for the New Hampshire Wildcats for the past four years, and had amassed some great number for a FCS (formerly Division I-AA) school, catching 160 passes for 2,014 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career. This past weekend, Scott and his family waited for his name to be called during the 2010 NFL Draft. 255 name later, his name was not called and Scott Sicko was never picked.

So Scott has turned his back on the NFL and has decided to move in another direction. Sicko was contacted by the Cowboys, Jets, Jaguars, Chargers and a few others, but he turned them all down.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote,

He said he had no bitterness, no anger at teams for not picking him. But when he thought about a football life on the edge of a roster — possibly an itinerant life of an undrafted free-agent, working out day after day to try to get a shot in an NFL camp, or moving from one NFL practice squad to another, or possibly being on an active roster — it didn’t jibe with the life he wanted to live.

King goes on to write,

It’s nice, in the midst of a weekend when football seems more important than breathing to some, that we have a different kind of role model for our kids.

Seriously? A role model? I do not consider any player, superstar or not, a role model for kids, much less a player that has quit on a career he has been working towards his entire life. I have never and I will never ask that a football player be a role model, simply because of his celebrity status. I usually agree with plenty of what Peter King has to write about the NFL, but a role model for choosing not to follow your dreams? That just doesn’t seem right. After all, Scott Sicko said,

“I love football. I’ve been playing since I was seven years old, and playing in the NFL was always a dream of mine. I can’t say if I would have made it if I’d have signed with somebody and tried to make it as a free-agent. I don’t know.

However, in the end, this is what stuck with me the most. Sicko told the Albany Times Union,

“If I were to be drafted I would have had more confidence of a much longer career in the NFL.”

So the question becomes, “Did Sicko give up a chance to play in the NFL because he no longer has passion for the game, or because he lacked confidence in his abilities?” Did he get his feelings hurt because he was not drafted? So he was not selected in the draft, who cares? Being a sixth or seventh round draft pick is not much different than being an undrafted free agent. The point is, either way, you get a chance to go an compete for a job in the NFL. A job that only a select few have the opportunity to acquire. Nobody owes the NFL a thing, and a player is not obligated to accept a contract should one be offered to him. But to go back to school and not even try, seems like giving up.

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman at UCLA in '09

Now I am not advocating quitting school, but Sicko graduates in May. Grad School will always be there, the NFL will not. Plus, there have been plenty of NFL players that have gone back to finish their education. Cardinals WR Larry Fitgerald and Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith come to mind. Both players went back to get their degrees after playing in the NFL, and Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman not only graduated, but he went back to walk with his class during Commencement at UCLA last year.

Ever hear of Tony Romo, Kurt Warner, John Randle and Jeff Garcia?

You wouldn’t have, had they made the same decision Sicko just made. Those are just a few players that went undrafted and have gone on to have successful NFL careers. Randle will even get inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, in just his second year of eligibility. These guys all continued to chase their dream and not only made squads, they became household names. Sicko certainly flashed that kind of potential at New Hampshire.

I am not here to tell Scott Sicko that his decision is wrong, because ultimately, nobody can tell a man what to do with his life. This feels right to him, so he has made his decision. I have no problems with that.

What I do have a problem with, is others in the media sensationalizing this story to make it seem like this decision is honorable or even heroic. There was a challenge that was placed before Scott, a challenge that not everybody gets in life. Scott simply avoided this one challenge and moved on to a different path for his life.

Right now, Sicko might say that he will not regret this decision, and one can only choose to believe him. However, the football field still calls me, and I did not even play college ball or ever come close to get an NFL offer. For reasons which will remain my own, I had to stop playing in high school and there are still some days when I look back and say, “What if?”

I cannot help but wonder when those days will begin for Scott Sicko.


UPDATE: It now appears that Scott Sicko has changed his mind, again! Since I posted this yesterday, it has been confirmed that TE Scott Sicko has agreed to terms to join the Dallas Cowboys. Listen to the latest episode to hear Jeff and I further discuss this topic.