Back in May, days after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, former UConn football players Zach Hurd and Scott Lutrus were in limbo. The NFL was barely two months into a lockout that drags on to this day. Which meant that undrafted players who usually would sign with teams immediately following the draft would now have to wait for NFL owners and current players to settle the labor dispute. We're midway through June and the lockout continues. Which means more uncertainty for everyone involved, including fans.
But staring at a phone waiting for it to ring doesn't pay the bills. Contrary to media reports characterizing the lockout as a battle of "billionaires vs. millionaires," many of the people involved -- from players, to coaches to the team's sales staff -- aren't close to pulling down seven figures. Former Huskies quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is Exhibit A.
Lorenzen is currently under contract with the Saints, but isn't much closer to untold riches professional sports promise than he was the day he left Storrs.
Via the Associated Press:
[Players like Lorenzen] get invited to training camps and sign "futures" contracts for the league minimum, which are honored only if they make the regular season active roster. Otherwise, they snap up whatever offer they get for a practice squad gig paying about $5,000 a week for however long a team keeps them around.
"It's tough for those guys," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has helped pay for some recent practice squad players to stay in New Orleans-area hotels so they could take part in workouts he organized at Tulane. "I know there's been a few veteran, established guys who've made the comment, 'Hey, we don't mind the lockout. We get all this free time.' Well, that's because you're an established player who's gotten some big contracts. But guys like Tyler Lorenzen are fighting their butt off just to make the team and haven't really made any money up to this point, so it's not like they've got a big nest egg."
Making the transition tougher for Lorenzen: he's trying to convert to tight end in the NFL. Last year, he spent roughly six weeks on the Saints' practice squad, earning about $30,000. Not exactly the same tax bracket as Brees or Peyton Manning.
"There are more (NFL players) that are in my position that really aren't millionaires," Lorenzen told the AP. "They don't have tons of money and have to be smart and budget just like everyone else and know that this is a job and a way to make money, but not a guarantee, just an opportunity."
Which is something Hurd and Lutrus have no doubt taken to heart in the two months they've had to sit and wait for their NFL opportunities. It's also why Jordan Todman should be thankful he was drafted at all.