What you are going through is preparing you for the breakthrough:
My journey to the National Football League (NFL) is tough but unique. I became my own agent because I refused to give up on myself and I wrote letters, called teams, and eventually I signed with the Buffalo Bills while working in Walmart’s Toy department. After being released from the team, the real journey to the NFL began.
Weathering the Storm:
In the midst of my journey, I lost my Father in 2018 before my tryout with the Baltimore Renegades of the Arena Football League (AFL). I had another contract with the Jacksonville Sharks of The National Arena League (NAL), but my focus was on my mother. She was suffering because of the loss of my father, her husband for 34 years. In 2019, I put my football career on hold to support my mother through her chemotherapy as she survived breast cancer. Covid-19 hit the world in 2020, which shut the arena football industry down, meaning no film to showcase. The pandemic affected nearly 20 of my family members, and caused the death of my grandmother.
I made a run in the arena football leagues, where the pay is $180.10 a week. One team I signed with could not afford to offer room and board; therefore, I had to drive 180 miles daily for practice. Reflecting back, I witnessed my Head Coach physically assault his own player in the locker room after a loss, causing the player to have a bloody nose. I had coaches wanting to retire me, and opposing coaches often told their players to injure me so I wouldn’t have an impact on the game. At the end of it all, great things happened for me. A NFL team is close to officially bringing me in, and I encountered many great teammates. Some of my teammates will say, I helped them grow, but more than they know, they were helping me.
This path has a slim to none success rate. It is the battle of courage and going to bed knowing I gave it my all for something I love.
God lead me to it so God will see me through it:
My journey demanded that I dig deep within myself to discover who I am. I have been through the fire, kept marching through the storm and God is blessing me to find heaven’s sunshine. It’s a blessing to be in a position to turn my dream into a reality, even though the odds were stacked against me.
To those who are engaged into this blog, always remember — the purpose is greater than the individual, your mess is your message, your test is your testimony, your trials and tribulations can empower you to help others who come after you.
Peace and blessings to everyone.
Jajuan Michael Harley
(P.S. as I was writing this blog, an NFLPA Agent by the name of Roosevelt Barnes, has taken me on as a client.)