Normally, getting drafted by an NFL team is the fulfillment of a dream for any football player, but a story by Yahoo Sports profiles one man who decided to turn the league down in order to live a faithful life.
The story of Eli Herring is one that baffled NFL executives.
Coming out of BYU, Herring was an offensive tackle who was an extremely attractive prospect coming out of college. At 6’8″ and 330 pounds, he had “dominant offensive lineman” written all over his future. The one thing that cast doubt on that was his religious beliefs. Herring is a devout Mormon, a religion that reserves Sundays for worship and rest, which doesn’t exactly accommodate for a career that makes you work on Sundays.
So even though the Oakland Raiders drafted him in the 6th Round of the 1995 NFL Draft, Herring turned an NFL career away in favor of becoming a teacher. What’s incredible about this is that Herring turned down the opportunity to make $1.5 million in 3 years in favor of a career that pays $22,000 per year.
“If they ever change to Saturdays, I’d be very interested,” Herring toldthe Los Angeles Times in 1995.
Herring says that he’s satisfied with his decision, telling the Desert News recently that he “wouldn’t have been happier” than he is now.
The former player didn’t leave the game completely. He is now the assistant football coach at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah.
Yuo can read more about Herring at Yahoo Sports.