NFL Draft (not actually about football, Tumblr, don’t worry)
I’m not sure if any of you watched the NFL draft last night, but I’m beyond excited to announce that I was selected by the Chicago Bears with the #7 overall pick. It was an incredible moment, driving up on that stage to receive my jersey. So many years of hard work and dedication have finally paid off, and I can’t wait to get out there and start this next chapter of my life.
As a smaller, extremely disabled wide receiver with hands (and legs, feet, and lungs) that essentially don’t function, I am facing much criticism and doubt. Many are wondering how I could ever go up against the best cornerbacks in the world. Here are some snippets of interviews I’ve heard the past few days:
From Chris Berman: “Shane Burcaw simply doesn’t have the physical makeup of an NFL wide receiver. I worry for his safety tremendously.”
From Tim Cowlishaw: “Is that the delusional wheelchair kid who stormed the stage last night? The kid’s got spunk, I’ll give him that.”
And my hero, Jerry Rice: “It’s an interesting story, one we’ll definitely want to follow. Remember, not everyone thought I would be successful when I entered the league. If he works hard and hits the gym some more, he could be a contributing player within a year or two.”
I will show them, and all of my naysayers. I may not be the biggest or the fastest or most talented or healthiest or most capable player out there, but I’m willing to outwork every player in the NFL. You will see my name in lights.
My hope is that opposing defenders will be so confused by my wheelchair that I’ll simply be able to sneak past them a few times each game. I’ve also drawn considerable inspiration from the myriad of feel-good youtube videos that show a disabled individual playing one snap of a game, where the defense plays stupid and lets him score. Maybe sympathy touchdowns will be my Forte.
I still have many aspects of my game to work on, though, like ability to catch a football without breaking my arms. But what would life be without a few hurdles to overcome?
I want to thank The Chicago Bears for taking a chance on me, my friends and family for their endless support (or at least for not telling me to shut up when I write stupid posts like this), all of my teammates and coaches at USC, and most of all, Eli Manning, for showing me you don’t actually need to be good at football to play in the NFL.