Padric Scott holding on to the NFL dream

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The plan was basic.

Go to Florida A&M University’s pro day and run the 40-yard-dash. That’s what defensive lineman Padric Scott had been preparing for over the past few months. That’s what, he believed, stood between the dream and medical school.

Then the plan changed.

Every day after his 10-hour shift as an assistant manager at a Sun Trust Bank branch in Tallahassee, Fla., Scott worked out. He hit the weight room or took the field, going through drills he learned while in training camp with the Arizona Cardinals to stay ready. The strong aroma of his cup of coffee in the NFL was still waking him up every morning.

No matter how many days since the Cardinals cut him on Aug. 31, 2013, Scott trained. After he was released, the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears inquired, but neither signed Scott. He knew one day, whenever it might be, he’d get that call from another NFL team.

“I felt like I had a very strong preseason, but things happen,” Scott said. “I lost out on a numbers game.”

A few weeks ago, during one of his workouts, Scott asked a friend to time his 40-yard-dash. It was faster than Scott expected. With FAMU’s pro day just weeks away, Scott saw an opportunity to catch the attention of NFL teams. But, he said, returning players were only allowed to run the 40. He arrived ready for another chance at the NFL.

After going through the weigh-in and getting measured, the New York Jets pulled Scott aside and asked if he’d be willing to go through the entire gamut of drills.

Prospects spend months preparing for those drills. They have specialized workouts that try to maximize their vertical jump or broad jump or bench press.

Scott just went out and did them.

“I was excited,” he said. “Having been out the game for so long, someone having specific interest in you, (it’s like) 'I’ll do whatever you want boss.' I was kinda wondering what my numbers will be. There’s a difference between training for football and training for a triathlon, which is what a pro day is.

“I knew I was probably more explosive than I was last year. I did these things before. It was just remembering.”

Scott said he ran a 4.9-second 40-yard-dash, had a 28-inch vertical and an 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump -- up eight inches from last year’s pro day. Scott didn’t have a chance to warm up when it came time for the bench press. He did a few push-ups to get the blood flowing then put up 225 pounds 37 times.

His performance clearly had an impact. The Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys also talked to Scott, but they have yet to offer a contract.

As the wait continues, Scott still gets to the bank by 9 a.m. every day and to the field or gym after work at 7 p.m.

He’ll chase the dream for two more years. If the NFL doesn’t come calling by then, he’ll crack open the books, study for the MCATs (Medical College Admission Tests) and go to med school. Though the NFL is his ultimate goal, he’s drawn interest from the Canadian Football League. If he’s not invited to an NFL camp by late July, Scott said he’ll venture north of the border.

It’s not his ideal dream, but he’ll still get paid to play football.

“It’ll just be another opportunity to play the game that I love,” Scott said. “That’s big. If you can consider their checks to what I’m making now, I get to do what I love and get paid more. You can’t really knock that.”