Long, winding road:Persistence is key for NFL players. Despite obstacles and setbacks, which can occur at any given time, players must continue firmly and steadfastly with their dreams in sight.
Donovan Morgan is trying to make the best of this opportunity. He can't tell you about the worst of the worst when it comes to AFL2. After all, it is a possibility if Morgan had never given the AFL a shot he would not be in Houston Wednesday, one day after the Texans signed him.
His journey began in high school.
"It started my senior year in high school when my brother got killed and it was a big upset for me," Morgan said. "I had to do everything in his name. When that happened God gave me the strength to allow my ability to show and let everybody see what I can do."
After the death of his brother he spent one year at Louisiana-Lafayette after one year at Pearl Community College. He was signed by the Jets in 2004 but was released after an injury. Next was the Tulsa Talons in Arena Football League 2 and now here he is.
Morgan has been quick to notice the difference in AFL2 and the NFL
"The speed of the game is faster in the AFL because you are putting up so many points but as far as competition the NFL has greater athletes," Morgan said. "In Arena 2 there are guys who are out there trying to start and get a position to where they can get to where I am right now."
The Texans wanted him immediately but he declined.
"We were still in season and they called and they were, like, we want to sign you right now," Morgan said. "I said no because I wanted to finish my season with my arena team."
The team ended its season Saturday with a loss, and the 23-year-old Morgan plans to pick up where he left off.
Good first impression:Playing primarily with the second defensive unit and on special teams. linebacker Shantee Orr made his presence felt during the teams first pre-season game against the Denver Broncos.
But it is this week of practice that carries more importance because he is looking not only to improve his performance but fix his mistakes and strive for perfection.
"A lot of people say I played a great game," Orr said. "I think I played a good game but I want to go out there and do better next time."
As for how Orr would rate his own performance in Saturday's game?
"I think I did a decent job," he said. "After watching the film there were a lot of things I could have improved on. That is basically what it is, not really getting complacent."
Orr recorded four tackles, one sack and two special teams stops against Denver.
Welcome back:After being limited during most of the off-season, strong safety Glenn Earl is trying to get back into the swing of things this week. Today's practice marked Earl's third practice back with the team. * *
"I'm just trying to get in the flow," Earl said. "So far, so good but it takes a little time so I'm not really worried about it."
The second-year safety missed most of the team's off-season workouts, including mini-camp and coaching sessions, after suffering a shoulder injury following his first NFL season in 2004. As a rookie, Earl recorded 66 tackles in 12 games after missing most of training camp rehabbing a knee injury.
"I'm definitely anxious to get back out there," Earl said. "You sit around and watch the guys practice, and you feel kind of ostracized from the team. I just want to get back in there and be a part of it.
"Hopefully I can improve in the passing game and be more of a presence back there. We have some camp left and hopefully I'll be out there in Buffalo."