Ever since Dan Marino retired, the Miami Dolphins have wasted a lot of money signing top college football players to contracts that never really paid off, so now they've decided to give accountants a try.
In short, the story seems to have been delivered directly from a Hollywood script. Les Brown, an accountant at a private equity investment firm in West Palm Beach, Fla., just signed a contract to play tight end for the Dolphins.
Generally speaking, if you don't play football in college, your chances of signing a professional contract are close to zero, but those are just the kind of odds Brown has defied.
Like many young men, he was a star in baseball, basketball and football while attending high school in Utah. Brown was even recruited to play football at BYU, but he decided basketball would be his sport.
"I didn't have the body to play football. I was a tall, skinny kid who liked to sit outside and shoot threes," Brown told the Salt Lake Tribune.
In the end, Brown chose to play basketball at Westminster College, a small private liberal arts college in Salt Lake City. While playing shooting guard for the Griffins, Brown took an internship at Huntsman Gay Global Capital. The Salt Lake Tribune's Gordon Monson reports that after the company presented him with a full-time job offer, he dropped out of school, and gave up his hoop dreams to work at the firm.
After the company closed the doors on its Salt Lake City offices, Brown was shifted to the West Palm Beach branch. After just seven months, he had enough, deciding to return home to Utah in July of 2011 to finish his degree.
Brown was helping his brother, Braden, an offensive lineman at BYU get ready for the draft when he stumbled across a man who would change his life.
Chad Ikei, a trainer for BYU, became interested in helping Les, offering advice that would lead him to the NFL. "He looked at me and said, 'You've got the rest of your life to work. You could be a great tight end," Brown said. "Chad was persistent, he wanted to take me on as a project."
Eventually Brown quit school again and moved to Hawaii to workout full-time with other NFL hopefuls to get ready for pro scouts. He worked out three times a day, six days a week in a "three-month boot camp."
All that worked was needed, since Brown had to impress cynical NFL scouts at BYU's pro day on March 29. "I was a no-name guy coming out of nowhere. I knew I had to turn some heads," he said.
In short, the results were mind-boggling.
Brown had the best vertical jump (39 inches), broad jump (10 feet, 3 inches), 40-yard time (4.43) of all the football hopefuls attending BYU's pro day.
With his brothers in attendance and overcome with tears, Brown had done enough to receive interest from the Giants, Raiders, Colts, Packers and Dolphins. In the end, he picked the Dolphins' three-year contract offer with a small signing bonus.
"It was an overwhelming feeling for all of us," Les Brown says. "When I quit school, some of my friends thought I was foolish, chasing some kind of high school dream. They thought I had a better shot at hitting the lottery than making the NFL. But I was doing it for me. I’d always wondered, ‘What if I had played football?’ " "All I wanted was a chance," he says. "When I started on this journey, I never thought this would happen."
Dolphins mini-camp opens on Monday, Brown will be competing with Anthony Fasano, Charles Clay, Jeron Mastrud and Will Yeatman for a spot on Miami's 53-man roster at tight end.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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