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Scott Mitchell Recalls When His NFL Career Heartbreakingly Came To An End

Quarterback Scott Mitchell of the Detroit Lions hangs his head in frustration as he walks off the football field following an unsuccessful play in the Lions 37-21 loss to the Raiders at Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. Mandato

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There is a time when every athlete realizes it is time to hang it up. It doesn’t matter if you are just a rec league athlete, played NCAA, or were a professional in your sport. Father Time always wins, no matter what.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell spent over a decade in the NFL, playing for four teams. His last year in the NFL was 2001 with the Cincinnati Bengals – he was a backup quarterback.

Mitchell had a good pro football career, specifically with the Detroit Lions.

Mitchell recalls the moment when his NFL career was officially over, and that is his worst sports memory. Like a lot of athletes, they keep training after their final contract to stay in shape waiting for that call.

That phone call happens enough to make it worth it to keep sharp and to wait for a team to reach out. In Mitchell’s case, two years after working out every day waiting for an NFL team to call – that call never came. He realized one day as he was setting up another training session that it was really over.

“My worst moment of all time, it is not even close. It is the moment I realized I was no longer going to play professional football, and that was an absolutely gut-wrenching feeling,” Mitchell said. “It was a very definitive, absolute and you are not going to play anymore type of feeling. I played for 12 years in the NFL and then for two more years I kept myself in shape thinking I still might have an opportunity to play and that is not atypical.

“I worked out every morning in this park and I set up all of these cones and these nets I would throw into. I am setting up the nets and I just have this powerful, crazy moment where I go, ‘Look, Scott, you have done everything you possibly could do over the past two years. You have called people, sent letters, visited teams, you have really worn this thing out, and it is over. You are not going to play anymore, it is done,'” he added. “I realized that and just slumped onto the ground there and was overcome with emotion and sobbed for a good half an hour. It was just a tough feeling that I could not do it anymore. It always ends and it is a hard thing.”

It happens to everyone who plays sports at any level but it still hurts when it is clear that you are not able to participate in the sport you have played for decades.

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