An NFL hopeful has quit his job, exhausted his life savings, and is living in a minivan–even while the northeast was hit with bone-chilling temperatures and snowstorms–to pursue his dream of potentially making an NFL roster.
Rashid Williams, who last played competitive football in high school, finds parking lots and motels in which he can park his car to sleep “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.”
He told Yahoo Sports that his “body has acclimated to the cold temperatures,” and “after six weeks of the lifestyle it has become his new norm.” Williams “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.”
But Williams believes it is all worth it to pursue his dream at the TEST Parisi Football Academy in Martinsville, N.J.:
He ran track at Division II Holy Family in Philadelphia and never played college football. Then after college, he went through a series of jobs before he enrolled at Penn State to get his MBA. He’s smart with a good sense of humor and a tremendous belief in himself, very much an All-American type.
This past fall at 26 years old, he decided to be gung-ho for his NFL dream after two tryouts with indoor football teams. He believes through hard work he can make it.
But that belief that he can change himself from a track standout into an NFL player meant leaving his comfortable job as a sales representative at Frito Lay, a decision he said “wasn’t easy because I enjoyed working there.” He moved out of his apartment in the Harrisburg, PA area and emptied his life savings that he had earmarked for a down payment on his first house.
On the surface, it all seems incredibly risky and perhaps a bit crazy, especially since he last played competitive football in high school.
According to Yahoo, he enrolled at the academy that has produced many NFL stars for their combine prep program. But since Williams does not have an agent to pay for his combine training, “all of the expenses come out of his own pocket. He cleared out his life savings and “sold his new car to buy a used minivan. It is in that minivan where he now sleeps at night:”
He stays at a local Panera or a library sometimes until closing time, just to soak up the warmth and access to electricity. Then when their lights go off, he slides open the door of the minivan to try and get some sleep. It is a long way’s away from a promising career in the business world, but it is a sacrifice he is willing to make.
There’s always the threat of someone trying to rob him, so he tries to stay under the covers and do his best at getting some sleep.
Though he does not game tapes and did not play college football, Williams, who is often the first person to show up at the training center (perhaps because it is warmer than his car), is “hoping to support his mother – his father passed away a couple years ago – and his siblings with an NFL contract.”