You won't recognize Rashid Williams's name, and it might not even be called in the NFL Draft, but he gave up so much for the mere possibility of being picked by a team this May.
Kristian Dyer talked to Williams for Shutdown Corner; it's an impressive tale of one man's dedication to strive for a goal that isn't really guaranteed. Williams last played competitive football in high school, but after a couple of indoor football tryouts, he chose to hone his skills for the NFL Draft by enrolling at the TEST Parisi Football Academy. He has no agent, and the training facility is in New Jersey, so Williams quit his job as a Frito Lay sales rep and sold his car for a minivan that he currently lives in while he trains.
Predictably, it is awful to live in a van in the winter:
The northeast has been struck by a deep-freeze this new year, with night temperatures routinely dropping into the single digits and 18 inches of snow expected this week in Martinsville. Williams sleeps in the back seat of his van with multiple layers of sweatpants and sweatshirts on. He huddles underneath three blankets to stay warm. He reads at night to keep his mind off the cold.
His body has acclimated to the cold temperatures he says; after six weeks of the lifestyle it has become his new norm. He eats a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as consuming protein drinks. As for creature comforts, there are none. He just wants to not freeze at night.
Dyer took a couple of photos of Williams's living arrangement that accompany the article. Yeah, it looks like it sucks.
With seven siblings and his mother, Williams wants to support his family with an NFL career. He was a track athlete at Holy Family University and has stayed in shape for the past few years, so he's just hoping for one chance to prove himself and find a team.
A more cynical person might point out that even if Williams was drafted, he'd have to avoid injury, roster cutdowns, and other obstacles for a career that averages three years. But he's already a longshot, so what difference is a couple of digits added onto his odds?