My time is running out.

If I ever actually make it to the NFL, I've got about a year to make it happen. I know it's true, and I know that NFL teams feel the same way. I'm 29 years old now, and everybody in the football business knows the stigma surrounding 30-year-old running backs.

But if I don't make it, it wasn't for a lack of effort.

My name is Noel Devine, and I am giving it one more chance to make my NFL dreams come true. Of course, every stop along this journey, from arena football to flag football, has felt like one more chance. But I now know that I really do have a limited window of opportunity.

This wasn't where I envisioned myself when I was a junior in high school, when I was a five-star recruit with powerhouse programs lining up to give me scholarship offers. It also wasn't what I envisioned when I was a junior in college either, when I ran for 4,315 yards and 29 touchdowns at West Virginia.

But life doesn't happen the way we all want, or the way we all expect. And I think that's kind of the point. I had dinner with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, and he told me that the accomplishment isn't whether or not I make it to the NFL. The accomplishment is that even if I don't make it to the NFL, that I've still kept my faith in God. And that I was thankful for the blessings that I do have.


The blessings are easy to see, because I have six reminders every day. I have five amazing children and a beautiful wife who bring the best out of me. It's the faith part that was the bigger struggle, because after what I've been through, it's a miracle I'm still here to tell this story.

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(Title photo courtesy of WVU Athletics)

Thomas Hager