Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Monday, July 25, 2011 Local football players wait on sidelines as NFL lockout nears end

Grand Rapids Press
by Michael Zuidema, July 21, 2011

"I just want to play football."

Vince Agnew, Cameron Bradfield and Troy Weatherhead didn’t play together in high school. They never played on the same team in college, either. But each uttered that exact phrase when asked about the possible end to the NFL lockout.

The trio has been following this week’s developments closely, especially since it appears players and owners are close to an agreement.

"I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but when I do it’s usually 'SportsCenter,'" Agnew said. "I’m keeping up with everything that’s going on."

After not being selected in the NFL draft in late April, the trio has spent this summer alternating between training and waiting for the two sides to reach a deal. When the lockout is over, NFL teams finally will be able to sign undrafted free agents.

For these three, that time can't come soon enough.

The former Comstock Park and Hillsdale standout actually is a professional football player already. Less than two months ago, he was signed by the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League to be a backup quarterback.

He has yet to appear in a game, but he figures it can’t hurt to work with moving targets every day in practice.

"I’m keeping a football in my hand," Weatherhead said. "Still throwing to receivers every day and staying in football shape. Glad to still be playing football."

He also has a solid backup plan if the NFL doesn’t come calling. After practicing from 8 a.m. to noon with the Gladiators, Weatherhead heads to his full-time job at a health care company he interned for last summer.

He is nervous about the possibility of not receiving any calls from NFL teams.

"I’m just hoping and praying that I’m going to get a call from someone," he said. "It really stinks coming out this year because it so different than all the other years. But I’m trying to keep a mindset where everything will happen for a reason, it will all play out how it’s supposed to play out. I’m trying to stay positive, but at the same time I’m definitely a little nervous about the end result."

Weatherhead said he’ll be all right if he doesn’t have a long pro career. He just wants a chance to prove he can play in the NFL.

"I had a couple great years at Hillsdale College, met a lot of good people and played for a great coaching staff, so I’ll be able to rest my head easy at night knowing that my football days are over," he said. "But it’s been a dream of mine for a very long time to play in the NFL, so any shot I can get would be incredible."

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