• Jajuan Michael Harley

Sour Grapes to Historic Wine


I am the only Professional Football Player to sign and negotiate 12 contracts as a free agent for professional teams in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), Indoor Football League (IFL), National Arena League (NAL) and Arena Football League (AFL). These do not include the private NFL workouts, being placed on the San Francisco 49ers’ Short List, the Green Bay Packers’ Emergency List and getting in the 2020 Xtreme Football League (XFL) Supplemental Draft. On top that, I am a husband, I own and operate a health, wellness and fitness business named Make Adjustments Delete Excuses Incorporated (M.A.D.E.), and I am a Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Bachelor of Science Graduate and a Special Olympics Unified Sports Coach. These are the success I have gained, but I must tell how I got here.


In high school, my coaches told me, “You will not get a scholarship, you will not make anything of yourself, you are not good and you’re not focused.” At that moment, I learned that many coaches will drag you through the mud if you do not become their pet. I worked my butt off to become a highly recruited athlete. When I got to college, nothing changed. I felt as if I was living a déja vu life. Coaches wanted to be my father, but I had a damn great father at home and was not going to allow a coach to feel as if they can take his place because they were not home with their kids. I encountered great teammates in college (Florida State University and Middle Tennessee State University) but I wished someone would have stepped up to say, “Hey coaches, you guys are going too far.” At an NFL Workout, a scout personally told me I was thrown under the bus because of these coaches targeted aggressions.


After not getting drafted into the NFL, I had to make moves. My father always said, “If you want something done the way you want, do it yourself.” So, I became my own agent – I hand wrote NFL teams, and I called franchises and offices. All of these endeavors led my emailing and messaging scouts through social media. After I was signed to the Buffalo Bills, I went from seventh Safety on the depth chart to second string. I then went from fighting for first team to competing for second during the last preseason game.


I have signed professional contracts to maintain my craft and to update my film. I have been cut and brought back to teams because they realized their mistake in letting me go. I have traveled 180 miles a day to practice for practices and games I did not get paid for. I have been ready to play even when teams folded. Whatever adversity you can think of, I have faced it. Through all these setbacks, my father was battling lung disease from inhaling asbestos while working as a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Mechanic. He fought for 17 years on oxygen before he transitioned in 2018. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the same year of my father (her husband) passing, and she beat the disease a year later in 2019. In 2019, I decided to put my football career with the Iowa Barnstormers on hold after two games to be with her during chemotherapy. Then, in 2020 COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 Tucson Sugar Skulls’ season.


My patience, grit, and strength come from my mother and father. Endurance and perseverance have been passed down for generations.


As you can see, this historic journey is a path only ONE man has chosen to walk, and I am walking it with pride.



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