The wait for a gay NFL player might not end with a high profile press conference or an embarrassing leaked photo.
Instead, the anticipation could come to a much more subdued conclusion if and when a team signs free agent kicker Alan Gendreau.
The 23-year-old Gendreau, who has been out since he was 15, had a stellar career at Middle Tennessee State. Gendreau made headlines during a breakout sophomore season in 2009, connecting on 18 of 22 field goals and 50 of 51 extra points. He also hit a game-winner at Maryland as time expired. That year Gendreau was one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given to college football’s top kicker. As a junior in 2010, Gendrau went 10 of 12 on field goals.
Gendreau, whose story was documented by Outsports, struggled in his senior year, missing four of his first five kicks. And even though he would go on to become the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, he figured his professional options were limited after struggling in his final year at Middle Tennessee State.
After no NFL team showed interest last year, Gendreau he moved to Washington, D.C., and took a position as an assistant at a real estate firm. But when he worked as a coach at a football camp last summer, his fellow coaches noticed his skill and suggested he give the NFL another try.
So now Gendreau is back on the field and hoping to land somewhere as a free agent. He told Outsports that he regrets not making more of a push last year.
"Right now, looking back when I’m 40, I can’t say I gave it my best shot," Gendreau said. "I can't say I really tried to make it into the NFL. Last year I did it half-assed. If I don’t give it everything I have now, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life."
While it's a long shot for most kickers, much less one who hasn't played in a year, to break into the NFL, many respected NFL minds think Gendreau has a shot.
Michael Husted, a former NFL kicker, thought highly of Gendreau after seeing the prospect kick at his camp in San Diego.
"I was impressed with him," Husted told Outsports. "From a kicking standpoint I thought he had a lot of talent. He definitely has the potential to kick at the next level."