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After being drafted 51st overall by the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL last week, Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich will test the waters in the NFL.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Herzlich has declined to sign with Omaha. The 6-foot-4 244-pound cancer survivor went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, as he was one of 25 recepients to attend the draft at the Radio City Music Hall.
Herzlich’s decision wasn’t an easy one. Many other NFL prospects drafted by the UFL will face the same fate.
Players are guaranteed that there will be a season for the UFL, but upon signing a contract, players cannot join an NFL team for a year. Meanwhile, does anyone actually believe that there won’t be a game played in the NFL next season? If there isn’t, which is how it currently looks, then players like Herzlich will kick themselves for not being able to play in the UFL and take home some sort of income.
When teams are able to sign free agents, Herzlich will be a name that is sought out by some. Every year, all 32 teams take fliers on players to fill out their training camp roster, so it wouldn’t make sense to find Herzlich without the opportunity to compete.
Ultimately the questions isn’t if Herzlich signs with a team, but it’s when. It would be misfortunite if young athletes, not just Herzlich, passed on a shot to play fooball next season all because of greedy NFL owners.
Then again, how would those players feel that joined the UFL over the chance to play in the NFL, if there’s a season?
Seems like a lose-lose situation to me.
Follow me on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio