A Former NFL Player that Gets It

Seldom do you get a story about an athelete where they see the importance of what they’re doing put in the perspective it needs to be.  That’s the story of former NFL player Keith Fitzhugh.

In a world where some in the NFL have called for fans not to boo them, equating themselves with soldiers coming home from war, this story is heartwarming to hear.

Keith Fitzhugh is currently a conductor for Norfolk Southern, in a job that makes somewhere in the 40-50 thousand a year range.  Then the New York Jets came calling.  They needed someone to play Safety and generally warm the bench for them for the next few weeks because of injuries to members of the team.  Since Head Coach Rex Ryan knew about Fitzhugh and had worked with him in training camp in the past, he called him to see if he wanted to join the team. 

Normally, a story like this takes a turn for player joins team and spends three weeks with them before being let go.  Fitzhugh knew that’s how it works and knew also that the Jets are one of the teams that is getting buzz at being a possible Super Bowl contender.  It’s the chance to possibly live the dream for at least a few weeks or at most a few months. 

While many have said that he is nuts for turning down such a possibility just to be a train conductor, Fitzhugh maintains that the move had more to do with keeping a steady job and helping out his parents in their time of need.  His father is currently disabled and can’t work and his job helps to take care of both his father and mother.

How many of us have dreamed of such things and never been handed them?  Still, you can’t help but admire a man who believes that taking care of family is more important to him than three weeks of glory in the NFL.  I personally believe that it shows that he gets it.  Football is a game.  We all realize that at the end of the day family has to rank higher than a game where 53 men get paid to have fun for around 3 hours on a Sunday.  Fitzhugh said that he only has one mom and dad. 

While many kids will look up to athletes who have done amazing things, I think that a man like Fitzhugh deserves special notice.  He’s the kind of man that we all hope our kids grow up to be like.  He’s certainly not a perfect man and who is, but to set the example that family is more important than football is a rare thing.  Rare in the college ranks and even rarer in the professional ranks.  Hats off to the man, for passing on something many dream of for something that is more real and really more of a blessing than any words can say.