For every clip you're shown of an NFL prospect receiving a phone call from an NFL coach informing him that he's been drafted, and of the tears, hugs and sounds of exuberance that follow, there are a hundred others you don't see. You aren't shown what happens to the men who spend all of Thursday, Friday and Saturday waiting for their name to be uttered on live television, only to be left without a team at the end of the weekend. Those who go undrafted are quickly forgotten, names that no longer matter.
But they shouldn't be.
Eric Striker, an outside linebacker for the Oklahoma Sooners, was one of those undrafted players this year. He spent the draft in his family's home, surrounded by relatives and friends, but the weekend ended without Roger Goodell calling his name. Yet his disappointment did not dampen Striker's passion. When the 2016 NFL Draft ended, he gave a moving speech to those who had gathered to celebrate his big day that was not to be.
"We're here to celebrate," Striker said. "I'm going to get my shot, drafted or not. I'm so happy that all y'all came to share this with me." Striker then gets emotional and his voice begins to waver, and a few tears roll down his face. "I'm crying because I'm happy all y'all came to share this with me."
His tears dried up quickly, though. On Monday, the Buffalo Bills signed Striker as an undrafted free agent. Still, the way he handled himself through what was surely one of the most disappointing moments in his life sets an incredibly fine example to athletes everywhere that one failure is not the end of a dream. That's something we should all take to heart.
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