To The NFL: I Plead My Case
Updated: May 16
Society is constantly looking for the next great motivation or motivator. This is why on social networks, we follow the trending hashtag “Motivation Monday.” My name is Jajuan Harley, former Buffalo Bills Safety and current Free Agent looking to showcase my talents once more. I am the perfect candidate to motivate the community of dreamers by receiving an opportunity in the National Football League (NFL). You are looking at someone who gets dreamers. I share the same passion of those who are grinding from the bottom to the top and who are at the top and want to remain there. I represent the employee that is working hard for a job promotion or the everyday person grinding towards their breakthrough. Everyone wants the feeling of hope: “If it happened to him, then I know it can to me with hard work and dedication.” Hope is frail but it’s hard to kill — and I am hope.
My college experience was unfriendly, but it prepared me for future disappointments and elevated my grit for success.
I began my colligate career at Florida State University (FSU) playing primarily special teams and accumulated (3 Kick Returns for a total of 42 yards, 9 Tackles, 1 Force Fumble and 1 Fumble Recovery) in 11 games. I transferred to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) but sat out a year because of NCAA rules. I played in 12 games, only started 8 and finished an entire game 5 times. My stats were amazing (74 Tackles, 3 Interceptions, 1 Force Fumble and 1 Fumble Recovery) that earned me awards throughout the season (Sun Belt Player of The Week, Defensive Back Performer of The Week - College Football Performance Awards and Defensive Player of The Week - Tennessee Sports Writer’s Association).
Leading up to my draft
I received NFL Teams Interest. All due to the hard work of training myself for Pro Day at FSU, running 2-40 yards dashes, laser times of 4.31 and 4.38; stealing the show from first round picks. Mike Mayock was so impressed, he express himself live on NFL Network and teams began buzzing my phone. Closer to the draft, my phone stop buzzing and eventually got silent for a while. I was informed by NFL Scouts, that I was thrown under the bus during my draft. It did not discourage me, only made me realize if I want something, I will have to create an alternative path.
I knew if I want to keep this dream alive, I must bet on myself, so I became my own agent. I got a job in Walmart toy department. I knew anything I put my mind to, I can and will achieve. I began writing hand letters to every NFL Team. It got me a private workout with the Denver Broncos and eventually signed with the Buffalo Bills. I began training camp seventh on the depth chart as a Safety, worked hard to become second team Safety and competing for first team. Then, I was cut from making the final roster.
How can I make an impact on lives if I never been through crap? The most beautiful things grow through the ugliest manure.
I needed film so I signed with an Indoor Football League (IFL) Team that folded and we as players struggled for food. Fortunately, I was able to get myself a Mini-Camp Invite with the Canadian Football League (CFL) Edmonton Eskimos. However, my nutrition from the previous team caught up and I was cut. This was a pivotal reason for starting my own Health, Wellness and Fitness business so I can always stay in shape: Make Adjustments Delete Excuses Incorporated (M.A.D.E.).
For the next 2-years I was cut by the same team that folded in the Arena Football League (AFL), called back by them later, signed with a team I had to travel 180 miles daily (to and from practice), which they folded as well in the National Arena League (NAL). Continued to chase my dream by signing with a NAL team who cuts me and calls me back.
During this time, my Daddy dies. 10 months later, my Mama is diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I got married.
The day my Daddy died was the day, I became who he groomed me to be. The day my Mama became a breast cancer patient, I did what a man would do. Despite all of the adversity, I learned what I was made of. While I was pursuing my dreams playing for the Iowa Barnstormers and making a splash, I put my dreams on hold to comfort my Mama during her Chemo Therapy. As of July 3rd 2019, she is officially finished with her treatments. I would not have been able to live with myself if I did not fulfill her request. Through the tough times, my wife never left myside.
My Mama (Cynthia Harley), Daddy (John “Jack” Harley Jr.) and Wife (Brigét Harley) are my best friends.
As I continue to motivate others through my book club, random phone calls, messages and daily actions, I keep myself in shape mentally, physically and spiritually. Being a son-brother-husband, I know the purpose is greater than I am. I’m determined to give inspiration to others so they’ll always be encouraged to hold on to hope.