With all of his success, I hope that Tom Brady doesn’t forget he still owes me gas money.
On Sunday night April 16, 2000, I was on my way back to Foxboro after spending the weekend in Philadelphia visiting family and my future wife when I received the news. A few months earlier, I signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. It was only my second year out of college, and I was already with my third NFL team.
As a rookie, I signed a contract with the Oakland Raiders only to lose my roster spot to Heath Schuler. Soon after, I signed with the Dallas Cowboys and went to camp in Wichita Falls, Texas with the likes of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvine, and Deion Sanders. My rookie year ended there when I was summoned to Jerry Jones’ office a week before the first game of the regular season. I was handed my walking papers and a plane ticket back home to Philadelphia.
I spent the rest of that season working two part-time jobs while keeping in shape and continuing to try out for NFL teams. At the end of that season, it looked like I’d be headed overseas to play in NFL Europe the following year. However, a couple weeks before the NFL Europe draft, I signed a contract with New England. I began training in their off-season program shortly after signing. During training, I slept on a friend’s couch for three weeks at his studio apartment on the outskirts of the Boston College campus. Four days a week I drove to Foxboro to lift, run, throw to receivers, and watch film preparing for the upcoming season.
But on that April 16th, while driving north on Interstate 95, I learned my time with the Patriots was probably over. I was listening to the draft on the radio when Bill Belicheck used the 199th overall pick on a quarterback from the University of Michigan. My excitement for the upcoming minicamp flew out the window somewhere between the George Washington Bridge in New York and the “Big Dig” going on in Boston.
As the future Hall of Famer announced last month his time in New England was over, I’m reminded of his first days in Foxboro. Our conversations in my Ford Explorer on the ride between the locker room and the practice fields will be etched in my mind forever.
At that time, Gillette Stadium was just beginning to be built and all the Bledsoe didn’t have room in his two-seat convertible Porsche, so Tom jumped in my Explorer. I told him my story, and we talked about how hard it was to make it in the NFL. The number of players on each NFL roster was so limited that even some extremely talented football players were often left to watch from afar with millions of football fans across the country.
A few years later, after stints in the XFL and the CFL, I began quarterbacking projects for litigation attorneys during the discovery phase of litigation. eDiscovery is an industry that is tough to break into but not nearly as hard as the NFL. I took the lessons I learned from my pro-football days and applied them to my new profession. I’ve met and worked with some tremendously successful people and had conversations with some of the most influential team owners, general managers, coaches, and players of all time. These encounters helped prepare me for working with an equally impressive client base.
To be successful in these industries you have to work hard, be persistent, understand your role, work together to achieve a goal or objective, be technically and tactically sound, and continuously learn and grow. To this day my conversations with a young, skinny, bright eyed, former Wolverine quarterback have stuck with me. His desire to be the best of all time was evident from his first days in the league. And even as I lost my job to that humble kid, I am grateful for having shared that time with him. His story has been an inspiration to me and continues to challenge me to overcome tough situations in my own personal and professional life.
About the Author
Brian Kuklick is an eDiscovery industry veteran with 15 years of litigation support experience in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. He has worked with law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies helping them manage their documents throughout each phase of the EDRM. Brian’s knowledge and expertise along with his strong customer focus have allowed him to identify technology solutions to address his client’s needs in matters related to compliance, risk management, corporate mergers and acquisitions, litigation, corporate investigations, real estate, and securities. His customer first approach is at the forefront of all projects he manages ensuring an accurate, efficient, and cost effective delivery.
Brian can be reached at BKuklick@PageOneLegal.com or (919) 904-3345.