The walk-on, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a college athlete who was not recruited heavily by a university or college. A player who was deemed “not good enough” to be offered a scholarship to a university, yet shows up to practice and tries to make the team. The odds weigh heavily against them earning a place on the roster, much less actually getting to compete. And as a former walk-on myself, I know the mentality. Basically, the walk-on has a chip on their shoulder the size of The Rock of Gibraltar, and it’s there forever. (The chiropractor business is happy to hear this!) That attitude extends beyond sports, of course, as well as across race, religion, gender, creed and any other institution you can name. People who overcome hardships or handicap are well-documented all over the place, professionally and personally. There are far too many examples to name. You might be one of those people yourself. Which brings me to this past weekend of NFL football games. [caption id="attachment_3146" align="alignright" width="186"]Case Keenum Case Keenum[/caption] There is no position in sports more pampered, more glorified, more idolized, than the NFL quarterback. Starting in high school and moving through college and professional ball, the QB is considered special. And for good reason: a great quarterback can make a bad team better, an average team good and a good team great. The most recent Heisman Trophy Winner is a former walk-on (for the first time in history;  his name is Baker Mayfield) and more power to him. The quarterback suffers more inspection and judgment from fans and the press, but also enjoys an incredible amount of overindulgence and praise. Coaches love-love-love their QBs. Of the four games played in the NFL this past weekend, there were eight quarterbacks. Four were first-round draft picks, and four were not. Three of the four first-rounders lost, and the fourth, whose team won - Blake Bortles for the Jacksonville Jaguars - faces a Mt. Everest of a climb this Sunday when his team plays a game in Massachusetts for the right to go to the Super Bowl. [caption id="attachment_3145" align="alignright" width="200"]Stefon Diggs Stefon Diggs[/caption] In the NFL, the walk-on’s twin is the “free agent,” who is a player that no team bothered to draft, that teams and coaches and know-it-alls have deemed too slow, too small, too weak, too problematic to offer a contract. The most exciting play this past weekend featured a free agent QB (Case Keenum) throwing a pass to a 5th-round Draft Pick (Stefon Diggs - the 5th round being akin to telling someone they’re barely better than a free agent) to win a game. In fact, if you look at the history of football’s biggest game - The Super Bowl - you will find that there are not many first-round draft pick quarterbacks who have won that big game. Tom Brady is a great example as a 6th-round draft pick himself (basically: walk-on), who wears that chip on his shoulder like a badge at age 40, still defying the sages and specialists and geniuses who passed on him so many years ago. When Mr. Keenum - who the pundits and analysts keep saying is “too small” and “doesn’t have the arm” - threw a game-winning pass to take The Minnesota Vikings to a game in Philadelphia (against a 3rd-round draft pick quarterback there) this coming Sunday, it came as a shock for many reasons. Not the least of which is: free agents can’t do this. He did. Once a walk-on always a walk-on! [caption id="attachment_3142" align="alignright" width="199"]Marcus Williams Marcus Williams[/caption] Note: my favorite interview of the games this past weekend came from a New Orleans Saints player named Marcus Williams. Mr. Williams, at age 21, made a mistake and missed a tackle that cost his team the game this past Sunday afternoon. Stunningly, this young man (he’s 21) stood in front of his locker and took responsibility for his failure. I hope he has a long, successful, championship-style career. He put every politician, sports talk personality and many other (older, more experienced but less-courageous) athletes to shame. Hats off to you, Marcus Williams. You’re a very good player and a very VERY good man.