Twenty-four-year-old Troy Beckett found a scrap piece of cardboard in his Willingboro, N.J. home, took a marker to it, and headed across the bridge.
The former Willingboro High School and Bemidji State defensive back arrived to the NovaCare Complex at around 7:30 on Monday morning with a sign that reads: “Not homeless … But starving for that shot!!!”
Beckett hopes he’ll get the Eagles’ attention and the team will offer to work him out.
“I’m nothing special,” Beckett said. “I’m not a big story. I’m just trying to make a living playing the game that I love. I’ve been playing it since I was 5 years old.”
In 2009, Beckett graduated from Willingboro High School, where he played wide receiver and defensive back for the Chimeras. He went to little-known Division II Bemidji State in Minnesota to play football, but has been out of school for two years.
He said he’s worked out for a few arena teams, including the Philadelphia Soul about a year ago. Nothing came from that workout.
Beckett’s idea to stand outside the NovaCare Complex wasn’t his own. He said Joe Anderson, a wide receiver who stood outside of Houston’s NRG Stadium with a similar sign last year, inspired him. Anderson was actually signed to the Jets’ practice squad six weeks later.
Beckett said he had a conversation with a friend last week, when the friend asked him why he never got a shot. So Beckett decided to head over the bridge on Monday.
For now, Beckett has a job loading trucks.
“I’m just looking for an opportunity to show this organization what I can do,” Beckett said. “I never got the big shot coming out of college, coming out of high school at the big name school or whatever.”
Beckett said it’s been tough to try to keep his dream alive.
“It really is, man. It really is,” he said. “I’m 24 years old. I’ve been out of school now for about two years. I’m just looking for a fair shot. I’d be OK with myself if they said no. As long as they give me the chance to workout and showcase my talent, I’ll be OK.”
As of around 9:30 a.m. on Monday – two hours in – Beckett said he hadn’t yet talked to anyone from the organization.
With temperatures expected to peak in the 90s on Monday, just how long does Beckett plan to stand by the NovaCare gate?
“As long as it takes,” he said. “Until the parking lot is empty.”
And if nothing happens on Monday?
“I’ll be out here tomorrow,” he answered. “I’ll be out here every day.”