Scott Mitchell: ‘Yes, The NFL Can Be Easy’

Apr 26, 2022, 10:07 AM
Scott Mitchell - Detroit Lions...
28 Sep 1997: Quarterback Scott Mitchell #19 of the Detroit Lions during the Lions 26-15 win over the Green Bay Packers at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. (Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport / Getty Images)
(Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport / Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – There are only so many openings to be a professional football player, in total there are 1,696 players on an NFL active roster. Scott Mitchell describes how hard and easy the job can be.

To even make an active roster is a feat of its own but to have a long career it takes a special kind of athlete.

The 2022 NFL Draft is this week and there are hundreds of players hoping to get drafted and start their careers, plus plenty of others looking to latch on as an undrafted free agent.

These players have worked really hard to get to this point and some athletes’ football dreams will be over once Mr. Irrelevant is announced as the last pick of the draft. Some will get invited to rookie camps hoping to get on a roster and find that one coach or team that needs their skill set.

In short, making a career out of the NFL is a tough path. So, when Hall of Fame running back Edgerrin James goes onto Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay Podcast” and says that the NFL is “overrated” or that college football was easier than the NFL, on the surface that seems like a slap in the face to those talented football players who worked extremely hard but never made it to the NFL.

“I felt like it was overrated because you’re 21, 22 years old, and then I got this dude in the locker room that’s 30, 31, 32, I know he can’t keep up with me. So, the age difference, it made me like, man, this game is like a joke,” James said. “Now I’m playing with these older guys, they got to be in the cold tub. With us, we just suit up, go play and then do whatever we do.”

To be fair to James’ point, he never said he didn’t put in the work to make the NFL seem easy.

He notes how being a gifted athlete helped but he also worked hard and just at some point early on in his NFL career he knew that the hard work of staying in shape and studying film made the game easier for him.

“It’s not really that hard, especially if you know what you’re doing, and you’re on top of your stuff,” James said. “It’s not that hard, because there are no secrets in the NFL. When you line up, I know exactly what you’re going to do.

“They got all the film, all the information … you study, you put in the work. And I’m like, this game is really easy. In college, you don’t study. In high school, you don’t study. You just figure it out by [the] second, third quarter. In the pros, you know from the first play to the last, you know exactly what’s going to happen. And whoever do it the best, that’s who’s going to win.”

When football is your full time job and you have the tools and resources at your disposal – just like any other job – it makes it easier.

What About A Non-Hall Of Fame Player?

Unrivaled’s Scott Mitchell spent 12 years in the NFL. He was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins and backed up Dan Marino for a number of years. He got his big break after playing for an injured Marino and signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Lions.

Mitchell had a long career a lot of players would have loved to have. He went to the playoffs and was on one of the best offenses in the league when he was throwing the football to Herman Moore and Brett Perriman, and also handing it off to Barry Sanders.

When he got his chance with the Dolphins, Mitchell took off and was successful right away.

“I think one of the biggest shocks to me was when I finally got to play – because you don’t know what it’s like, you have no idea you think it’s this big mystery – when I got out on the field for the first time, I started playing, I had this exact reaction,” Mitchell said. “When I started playing, the biggest shock to me of all was this isn’t that hard. It is not that hard.”

Scott Mitchell On The NFL

The reason Mitchell said it was simple was because of the organization he was with and how the team and coaches prepared him when he was with the Dolphins.

“I was with a team that the system that I was in work for you was awesome,” he added. “Was Nirvana. Literally. I was like, wow, it was so exciting. It was so fun. The first game I played, I was the AFC Offensive Player of the week in the first game I played in. Now, the first month that I played, I was the AFC Offensive Player of the month. I was killing it.”

Then Mitchell explained the opposite end when he went to the Detroit Lions and at the beginning of his tenure there, things were not going as expected.

“Then I went to Detroit. In the beginning, I was just like, ‘why is this so hard? Why do they make this so hard?'” Mitchell asked himself. “And then you see how the NFL can be easy but it also can be brutally hard, and why so much of it is the circumstances you’re in.”

James and Mitchell both noted how the NFL can be easy but a challenge at the same time.

Both put in the work to be able to play in the NFL as long as they did, and this new crop of athletes who are hoping to be drafted this week in Las Vegas have put in the work, and they are now hoping it has all paid off with the hopes of having their own long-lasting careers in the National Football League.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Scott Mitchell: ‘Yes, The NFL Can Be Easy’