There were no 26-year-old fireman taken by the Eagles in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft but that doesn't mean they don't have any crazy stories about a player who is pretty old for a rookie and has barely ever played organized football in his life.
Reuben Frank has the story today of 27-year-old New Zealand native Nic Purcell who never even stepped onto a football field of any kind until he was 24. And that was at a junior college. He didn't go to junior college in California to play football though, he just went to get an education and study kinesiology. But being a giant 6-6, 255-pounder walking around campus can get you an invite to come play football at those kinds of places.
He started on the defensive side of the ball but quickly moved to offense after coaches told him he had the potential to be great there. He played two seasons at left tackle and excelled, drawing the attention of Division I schools like Chip Kelly's Oregon. He was even going to make a visit and maybe attempt to transfer but the NCAA stepped in and did NCAA-like things and blocked his eligibility because he played some organized sports but didn't get paid over in New Zealand back in the day.
So a Division I football career was not in his future but that didn't stop Kelly from inviting him to Eagles' rookie camp.
With his college career ending abruptly, Purcell faced an uncertain future. But Kelly thought highly enough of Purcell to invite him to the Eagles’ rookie camp in late April as an unsigned tryout player.
And Purcell, now 6-6, 300 pounds, showed enough to earn a contract and a chance to remain with the team throughout the offseason.
Needless to say, with only 21 games of football experience, it’s been challenging.
Pretty wild story. Obviously this guy faces a gigantic challenge in actually making it onto the 53-man roster, but the fact that he's got a chance alone is amazing.
You should really go read Roob's story to hear this kid tell his tale.