Most Patriots fans probably haven't paid much attention, but eight current members of the New England roster are in the midst of trying to play their way into a job. While most of the team is in New England working in the weight room or on the practice field, guys like wide receiver Scott McCready are playing games every weekend in NFL Europe hoping to improve their chances at an NFL career.
McCready, a native of London, England who has spent time on the Patriots practice squad in each of the last two seasons, is spending his second spring in a row pursuing his football dreams with the Scottish Claymores. And while the 6-foot, 200-pound South Florida graduate knows his chances of making it in the NFL are probably long, that won't stop him from trying.
"Like anyone, I am going to pursue my dream until there is no more chance," the first Englishman to win a Super Bowl ring said. "I'm going to do whatever is asked of me until there is nothing left. So I am just going to do what I can do and see how things pan out."
In terms of what is panning out, McCready has seen very good success in NFLE over the last two seasons. After leading the Claymores with 22 receptions and totaling 310 yards and two touchdowns last spring he is again one of the league's top receivers. Through six games this season he has 18 receptions for 306 yards (ranking sixth in the league) and three touchdowns for the 2-4 team.
"Things seem to be going well," McCready said from his hotel room in Scotland. "I wish we had won a few more games along the way, but there is still a ways to go. Going into the season I just wanted to play as well as I could and really improve. The only way to get any experience or get any better at football is to play. The more you can do, the more experience you can get, hopefully the better you get. I am just trying to enjoy the experience and just trying to get better as it goes along."
But McCready admits that while the production he is experiencing is nice, his real value could come through versatility. As is always the case with the last few roster spots on any football team, multiple skills and special teams contributions will be a key factor in the receiver's chances to make any NFL team. And with 11 wide outs currently on the New England roster, including high draft picks in each of the last two seasons, McCready's fight for a receiving job could be a tough one unless he can increase his value in other areas.
"Personally I just wanted to get more involved in the special teams side of things just because it is something that I hadn't really done in college," McCready said. "I know that's a big thing coming into the NFL. So I really wanted to work hard on that and everything that goes along with being a wide receiver. Not only running routes and catching the ball, but making the blocks and basically just trying to do things right. I would like to think I've turned myself into a more all-around player where I can kind of contribute in every aspect of the game in some way and just try to become more of an asset for any team I am playing for."
And what about the fact that the dedicated receiver has spent more than two-full years, considering time in Europe, training camps and time on the Patriots practice squad, playing football? Has that begun to wear on the player whose dreams have taken him back and forth across the globe on multiple occasions?
"It can be a little taxing at times," McCready admitted. "But like I keep saying, it beats having a real job. So there are no complaints out of me just yet."
Only time will tell though if the investment of time and dedication made by McCready and so many others like him will pay off.