Playing a musical instrument isn't something that you'd think would help one's chances of having a successful career in the National Football League, but one prospect's days in the high school band might have done just that.
Matt McCants will show off his offensive line skills for NFL scouts at Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile. He wouldn't have had this chance, had it not been for a deal he struck with his overprotective dear old mom.
The University of Alabama-Birmingham tackle wasn't allowed to play football as a kid. The only time he spent on the football field was with the band as one of the biggest tuba players in the world. The 6-foot-7, 308-pound lineman's mother just couldn't let her son play the violent sport.
"He's my only child. I thought he might get hurt," Birtha McCants told the USA Today. "In football, you never know what can break." Despite her husband wanting to see their son in football pads, he was unable to get permission from his wife.
Finally before his senior year at Williamson High in Mobile, Matt McCants negotiated with mom. "I wound up striking a deal with her," he said. "If I got all A's, she would let me play."
His mother released her son to excited football coaches after his glowing report card at Williamson High. With no experience, McCants needed time to find success on the field. "I had never played football before," McCants said. "I didn't know any technique. I was extremely raw. As the season went on, I got better."
A fast pigskin learner, McCants ended up playing well enough to get a chance to play college ball at UAB. The criminal justice major ended up starting 42 games during his Blazers career, becoming one of the top offensive lineman in Conference USA.
Ironically, NFL scouts believe all those years playing tuba in the school band, not practicing football will -- believe it or not -- work to McCants' advantage in professional football.
"All of my friends in the scouting community think he has a huge upside," said McCants' agent, Alan Herman told USA Today. "I think he will be a starting left tackle in the league for years to come. Will he jump into that role in year one? Probably not."
It turns out mother really does know best.
Matt McCants' was featured in this video as a UAB freshman
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