Keith Fitzhugh doesn’t belong in the NFL.
A conductor for the Norfolk Southern Railroad outside of Atlanta, Fitzhugh turned down an opportunity to play for the Jets because he wants to hold onto his steady job. Yes, you read that right: a guy just turned down a chance to play in the NFL to remain a train conductor.
But it’s hard to say it wasn’t the right move.
After a good career as a defensive back at Mississippi State, Fitzhugh, who went undrafted, signed with the Jets in 2009. He was cut before the season began and then latched on with the Ravens at the end of last year. In the offseason, Fitzhugh signed with the Jets again, only to be cut again before the season began.
But with an injury crisis to their defensive backfield, the Jets called Fitzhugh, offering him a spot on the team. With a disabled father who can’t work and a mother struggling to carry the load, Fitzhugh knew where his priorities lay:
I’ve got something now where I know every two weeks I’m getting a paycheck. That’s what helps out the most right now. I don’t knock the Jets at all. I highly appreciate them.
Can Sports Illustrated rescind “Sportsman of the Year” and just give it to this guy?
I know the Jets have a great opportunity of making the Super Bowl, and that’s one dream that every child has is to play sports and make it to the Super Bowl or get to the World Series. But, there’s a time when you have to think, ‘Hey, you’ve only got one mom and dad.’ They won’t be here forever, and while they’re here, you’ve got to cherish that time.
It’s fair to say he’s giving up a chance at the Super Bowl (however slim that chance is) to conduct trains. Trains! So many other guys wouldn’t even blink with an offer from the Jets, relatives be damned. But Fitzhugh was, clearly, spun from a different thread:
You don’t hear this too often and some people might think it’s not a good idea. Some people might think it is. I don’t know. I just have to look out for what’s best for me and my family.
Nope, that attitude has no place in the NFL.