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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    See grtrez's Items on eBay

    This is one great story read it...

    I was on the bills site on saw the nfl news.. and it said janitor to the NFL and decided to read it.. its an amazing story... everyone should read and respond lol

    Long journey lands former janitor in Cowboys' backfield
    By JAIME ARON, AP Sports Writer
    December 12, 2003

    Irving, Texas (AP) — Erik Bickerstaff’s stat line in his debut with the Dallas Cowboys was nothing remarkable: nine carries for 41 yards, two kickoff returns for 24 yards.

    What is remarkable: The last time he played that much he was a junior. In high school. Seven years ago.

    Since then, Bickerstaff has faced dead end after dead end, escaping them all like only a shifty running back could.

    Convinced he could make it to the NFL, he refused to give up on his dream. He certainly had plenty of chances — such as this time last year, when he was a janitor cleaning Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium.

    “I just knew that I had the talent to play at any level,” Bickerstaff said. “I got calls from my friends in the league. They told me, ‘You’ve got the talent, just keep it up and you’re going to be right here with me.”’

    Before playing last Sunday against Philadelphia, Bickerstaff’s last action at tailback was in 1996, his junior year at North High School in Waukesha, Wis. He was named all-league and was looking forward to a big senior season when he was caught drinking. The punishment was a yearlong suspension.

    Forgotten or ignored by colleges, his only scholarship offer was from Division I-AA Northern Iowa. And it was to run track.

    Bickerstaff walked on at Wisconsin instead. But the Badgers already had Ron Dayne and Michael Bennett at tailback, so Bickerstaff was moved to fullback.

    He paid his dues for four years, a redshirt season plus three more. He paid his tuition, too. Along the way, Bickerstaff had just one carry — in the final minutes of a 59-0 win over Indiana.

    In spring 2002, Bickerstaff was preparing for his breakthrough. Coaches said he’d start at fullback. He also was finally going on scholarship. His eagerness showed on the practice field.

    “I was pretty much a wrecking crew out there,” Bickerstaff said.

    Shortly before the annual spring game, running backs coach Brian White came to him, apologizing in advance for some bad news. Although his grades were fine, it was just discovered that Bickerstaff was academically ineligible.

    The problem: a low ACT score made him a “partial qualifier” when he got to Wisconsin. That meant he wasn’t allowed to play his first year, then had only three more seasons — not four, like most players. And he’d used them up.

    Once academic counselors found the mistake, Bickerstaff was told there was still one way to gain an extra season: Earn his last 12 credits in summer school. He did.

    Then he was told he needed 12 more.

    “I didn’t really get mad,” he said. “I knew there had to be another way.”

    His only option was going to an NAIA school. Wisconsin coaches steered him to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala., but soon after he arrived the program was accepted into the NCAA. The Badgers invited him back, still honoring his scholarship even though he couldn’t play.

    His old coaches helped him get a job. At, of all places, the stadium.

    For $8.50 an hour, he swept floors and fixed things. He often went to empty the trash in White’s office and wound up spending hours studying film and talking football.

    Bickerstaff also was given a workout plan designed by the strength coach. With no one to push him, and no games to prepare for, it took a lot of dedication to follow it.

    Saturdays were the worst. Although many of his friends, and all of his roommates, were football players, Bickerstaff skipped every game.

    “I just couldn’t stand to watch knowing somebody was out there playing my position,” he said.

    In the spring, he focused on the campus workout for NFL scouts. He wasn’t expecting to get drafted, but he hoped to impress them enough to get invited to a training camp.

    The Indianapolis Colts were the only team that called and didn’t make an offer.

    So agent Adam Robbins got busy. For months, he called teams and mailed a package featuring a “highlight” tape that was mostly from a spring scrimmage, a bio and newspaper articles.

    “I’d say 80 percent of the teams we called didn’t even call me back,” said Robbins, whose other clients are all in the Arena League.

    A sympathetic NFL contact steered Robbins to a Cowboys scout who agreed to look at the package.

    Bickerstaff, meanwhile, got his sociology degree. He cut back on his workouts and started looking for a real job.

    Then in June, the Cowboys offered a tryout.

    Bickerstaff wasn’t prepared and coaches could tell. Yet they liked his size (6-foot, 230-plus pounds) and the speed and moves he’d honed running the 400-meter hurdles. Coaches recommended he get back in shape because they might let him try again.

    The second chance came in August and Bickerstaff nailed it, earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

    He became the scout-team tailback but seemed out of the picture. When coach Bill Parcells wanted to spark the running game, he signed Adrian Murrell, who’d been out of the league since 2000.

    Bickerstaff was inactive the first eight games, then waived and re-signed to the practice squad.

    His big break came last week. With Murrell gone, third-down back Aveion Cason hurt and the running game lagging, Parcells decided to use Bickerstaff in a pivotal game at Philadelphia.

    “This is a player who was a very, very long shot coming to training camp,” Parcells said. “But he’s not without some skill and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”

    Bickerstaff got in early in the second quarter. He plowed up the middle for seven yards on his first carry and did it again the next play. He finished that drive with five more yards on two more carries. His only other extended action came on the final, mop-up series of a 36-10 loss.

    The next day, being sore never felt so good.

    “Everyone thought I ran the ball hard and well,” Bickerstaff said, unable to stop smiling. “Hopefully I can get more opportunities and I can take advantage of it.”

    Bickerstaff was expected to play again Sunday against Washington.

    “He’s shown he’s a tough football player and he wants it real bad,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

    So far, Bickerstaff is no Kurt Warner, who gave every NFL reject hope by going from bagging groceries to Super Bowl MVP.

    Yet just by breaking into the league, this hard-luck janitor already has a tale that serves as a lesson in perseverance.

    And it’s only just begun.

    “I’m trying to make the most of these last three games,” Bickerstaff said. “Hopefully I can stick with the Dallas Cowboys. That would be great.

    “I definitely don’t want to go back to cleaning floors.”

    Copyright Associated Press 2003.

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  2. 12 Breaks of Christmas from the Cardswap
  3. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SCF Rewards

    yea, in any sports, there's always these "Rudy" type of stories...

    and that makes the A. Rod's $25M salary seem so outrageous, huh?

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  4. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    ahh baseball is ridiculous. all they do is make $$ for the least contact sport/injury free. some football players spend their $$ on like medical bills and babeball players wipe thier a** in twentys. yea good story though...

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