Sun, Oct 07, 2012 - Page 19 News List

NFL: Free agents find place to fight for a second chance

Reuters, NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Florida

However, the weekend offers a different challenge for free agents — with no involvement in a game, it can be tough to even turn on the TV set and watch live NFL action.

‘LITTLE IRRITATING’

Offensive tackle Alex Barron was drafted by the Rams in 2005 and has also played for the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, but was cut by the Seattle Seahawks in August.

The 30-year-old says he finds it hard not to be involved in the game.

“This is a little abnormal for me. I’ve never been in this situation before, with a season going on and not playing as part of a team,” he says, sitting in the community center reception.

Barron says he expects to find a team soon, but finds it tough to watch games on TV.

“Sometimes it’s a little irritating when you’re watching and you see a lot of stuff going on,” he says. “Like if you see someone out there making mistakes and it’s something you wouldn’t do and you wonder why you’re not out there.”

Others watch games to keep themselves fired up.

“You can’t switch off. You have to watch because it feeds your drive, because you know you should be out there and you are going to do everything you can to get back out there,” says former Minnesota Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson, who was cut by the Miami Dolphins last month. “I like that feeling because it makes me more hungry. It makes me appreciate what I had more, as opposed to acting like it didn’t happen. It did happen. I did get cut. That’s how you keep yourself strong mentally.”

For Johnson, as much as the expert physical preparation provided by Bommarito’s team, it is the feeling of being with similarly spirited men trying to get back in the game that leads him to the field behind a community center every morning.

“You have to be around like-minded people that are willing to work and try to get back to where they want to be, instead of sitting around sulking,” Johnson says. “The people sitting around sulking are not here. These are people that are staying strong-minded and are willing to do what it takes.”

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