Vince Papale: Here's my advice to all those undrafted players


Now that the draft is over, there's a rush to sign undrafted free agents -- and we know what you're thinking. Yeah, well, so what?

Well, so Kurt Warner was undrafted. So was Dick "Night Train" Lane. And Willie Brown, Warren Moon and Willie Wood. And all are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Vince Papale is not, but he's in the Philadelphia Hall of Famous -- with almost every Eagles' die-hard able to recall his remarkable story. It started with Papale, a high-school and collegiate track-and-field star, going undrafted, too, but taking a circuitous and astounding route to the NFL.

He got there in 1976 at the age of 30, the oldest rookie in NFL history (other than a kicker) to play without the benefit of college football experience. And he stayed three seasons as a wide receiver and special-teams standout, a story so extraordinary that it was the subject of the 2006 movie, "Invincible," starring Mark Wahlberg.

With this year's draft in Philadelphia, we decided to check in with Papale, now 71, on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast to get his advice for all those players who weren't drafted this weekend.

"My message to them," Papale said, "is if you feel like you have it, hopefully, you'll get that opportunity. And when you get that opportunity, give it everything you got, and don't let anybody tell you that you can't do it.

"The best advice I ever got from my high-school football coach (was) when I was trying out at 30, and everybody told me I was crazy and that it couldn't be done. He just gave me this quote, and it said, 'Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make their dreams come true.' "

Papale did, making the last cut in 1976 and becoming the Eagles' special-teams captain in 1978 before a shoulder injury ended his career one year later. That was nearly 40 years ago, but the message hasn't changed ... and Papale is only too happy to repeat it for today's undrafted dreamers.

"Just give it everything you have," he said. "Be willing to pay the price, take the risk, be fearless and who knows what's going to happen? Just look at me."


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