The NFL is the acronym for National Football League. An elite league of professional athletes who are hand picked to entertain sports fans in all seven continents. As a member of this select few, your job is to do the thing you love most: play ball.
For those on the outside looking in, being one the elite is the ticket to freedom. Two minutes after the ink dries on the contract, all the trouble, heartache and pains of life vanish – forever. Or so we think. After catching up with Juran Bolden relaxing in the ATL, he took some time to school me the real deal Holyfield.
The road to the NFL has been hard-fought for Bolden. After realizing he didn’t meet the requirements to go to a Division 1 college, his dreams of being picked in the first round went up in smoke. But instead of joining the many others on the street corners of forgotten dreams, Juran opted for Plan B, and went to a small Junior College in Mississippi. “I had never been to Mississippi a day in my life. But I had the ability to play ball so I took advantage of what I had.” Coming from humble beginnings, Juran learned at an early age to seize any and all opportunities. So when the Canadian Football League was holding workouts at his college, Juran did what he knew best and he was drafted. He worked hard for the $50,000 a year he earned in the CFL and became an All Star. That’s when the NFL took notice.
Ten years later and the NFL is still checkin’ for one of its elite. He’s watched many come and go in this league, and he can boast of his solid veteran status. From junior college to the CFL to bouncing around to six different teams in the NFL, he’s found a home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s excited about the teams’ acquisitions and all the new, young, and competitive talent. “We have some young guys competing for what I consider MY JOB, but they all have to come thru me. They have to come through ol’ number 21.” Wearing his signature smile and infusing his infectious attitude on everyone around him, number 21 reminds sports fans why we love the game of football. He’s committed to the home-training and character his grandmother instilled in him. He’s committed to becoming an even better athlete. “Juran Bolden has something to prove. And I’m gonna get a lot bigger this year. I’m hoping for this to be the best year of my career.”
At the end of the day the route he took to becoming a member of the crème de la crème of the National Football League is not so important. More important is the fact that he is. And he doesn’t take his membership privileges lightly. He’s playing some of his best football and he’s about to become a father for the first time, with no plans to retire anytime soon. “I love this game and I plan to keep playing til the wheels fall off.”