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NOT DRAFTED? NOT A PROBLEM

August 7, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



How does an undrafted player develop into an NFL star?

“A lot of hard work,” says Pro Bowl running back ARIAN FOSTER, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans in 2009. In life, sometimes things don’t go your way. You can take two roads: you can fold, you can quit, or you can follow your heart and do what you know how to do. That’s what I did.”

Cincinnati linebacker VONTAZE BURFICT (left) was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Bengals in 2012. Burfict led the AFC North champions with 171 tackles in 2013 and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

I got in through the back door,” says Burfict. “I worked so hard. I’ve had to come and work ever since I’ve been in here.”

Bengals head coach MARVIN LEWIS says he was convinced that Burfict had the necessary skills to reach the NFL coming out of Arizona State.

Vontaze had exceptional ability and intelligence,” says Lewis. “It’s like that lump of coal I really believed there was a diamond there.”

The 11 undrafted players who were named to the Pro Bowl last season:

LB Vontaze Burfict Cincinnati Bengals

LS Matt Overton Indianapolis Colts

CB Brent Grimes Miami Dolphins

FB Marcel Reece Oakland Raiders

P Johnny Hekker St. Louis Rams

FB Mike Tolbert Carolina Panthers

LS J.J. Jansen Carolina Panthers

K Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens

T Jason Peters Philadelphia Eagles

DE Cameron Wake Miami Dolphins

K Matt Prater Denver Broncos

Defensive tackle JOHN RANDLE is one of 15 Pro Football Hall of Famers who was not drafted. The former Texas A&I product was signed by the Minnesota Vikings in 1990 and recorded 137.5 career sacks, which is tied for the seventh-most in NFL history.

“If I didn’t give it a try to come into the NFL, I would regret it for the rest of my life,” says Randle. “It’s an unbelievable feeling because of where I came from and what it took to just make it in the NFL.”

The undrafted players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

1946 Frank Gatski Cleveland Browns

1960 Willie Wood Green Bay Packers

1946 Lou Groza Cleveland Browns

1963 Willie Brown Houston Oilers

1946 Marion Motley Cleveland Browns

1966 Emmitt Thomas Kansas City Chiefs

1946 Bill Willis Cleveland Browns

1967 Larry Little San Diego Chargers

1948 Joe Perry San Francisco 49ers

1970 Jim Langer Cleveland Browns

1948 Emlen Tunnell New York Giants

1984 Warren Moon Houston Oilers

1951 Jack Butler Pittsburgh Steelers

1990 John Randle Minnesota Vikings

1952 Dick “Night Train” Lane Los Angeles Rams


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