Cory Raymer, former NFL offensive lineman of eleven seasons, shared his beliefs as to what amateur athletes must understand in order to become professionals.
"It's not that anymore," Raymer, 41, said when referring to playing football in the backyard with friends. "You got numbers, you got names, you got responsibilities... you gotta really bare down and you know, just as much time on the field, you gotta spend probably two or three times as much off the field."
Raymer's analogy for athletes is: the step from high school to college is large enough where one would need a ladder, but from college to the NFL, one would need an elevator.
"It's like work — it sucks sometimes, but you gotta find a way to make it fun and enjoyable and it's gonna repeatedly be there and it's repeatedly gonna kick you in the butt time and time again," Raymer said. "That's just the way it is, and it's not just school, it's life in general."
The harsh reality is that most youth athletes never get the opportunity to play professional football. For this reason, Raymer encourages athletes to strive in school and reach for higher education.
"A college degree is worth as much as weight in gold," Raymer said. "I mean, it's a piece of paper, but without that piece of paper, you're going nowhere."