There are 53 active players on every NFL team. To make a roster in the NFL is one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports. A team has to look at you and decide if you’ll make their team better. But what if the team’s decision is the wrong one? There have been many attempts for the people who don’t make that cut to have a chance to show their stuff while providing entertainment and revenue for people.
For some of the groups that got that chance in a league that wasn’t the NFL they received another chance at stardom and many of them took that chance and ran with it. There are three Hall Of Famers on this list, thirteen Pro Bowlers, and multiple Come Back Players Of The Year.
These alternate routes to the league have turned out plenty of successful athletes.
All of these organizations listed here were considered at least relatively successful, even so here are the 15 players you won’t believe played in these leagues.
James Harrison, OLB (Rhein Fire, NFL Europe)
A fan favorite for the Steelers, James Harrison almost retired from the NFL at 26 years old. Harrison bounced from practice squad to practice squad. He signed with the Steelers practice squad, was cut twice, signed by Baltimore, then sent to NFL Europe with the fire, cut again, then signed by the Steelers after their starting OLB suffered an injury. During this time Harrison strongly considered retirement to become a veterinarian(A goal he still he has for his life after football), but continued to improve during his time on the Fire and his time spent unemployed. Four years later Harrison became the NFLs defensive player of the year, while sealing his teams victory in Super Bowl XLIII with a 100 yard pick six, one of the greatest plays in NFL history.