|Undra Hendrix's trip from Hardin-Simmons to Laredo, Texas, was not overly long.|
By Adam Turer
Helsinki, Finland and Laredo, Texas have few things in common. For two Division III All-Americans, these distant and distinct locales share one thing: hope.
After earning second team All-America honors following their senior seasons in 2012, the itch to put the pads back on never fully went away. When they were not offered any free agent contracts following the NFL draft, they kept working out and looking for the right opportunity to come their way. Each player recently embarked on a new, and adventurous, phase of his football career.
Former Hardin-Simmons defensive lineman Undra Hendrix signed with the Laredo Rattlesnakes on June 6. Former North Carolina Wesleyan cornerback and return man Dwayne Hollis signed with the Helsinki Roosters on July 3. In signing to play in lesser known leagues, each player was taking a leap of faith.
“I just wanted to continue my playing career, and I also saw it as a chance to showcase my skills to the NFL and CFL and AFL1,” said Hendrix. “I just am blessed and fortunate to still be playing.”
Hendrix is a Irving, Texas, native. The move to the small town on the Texas-Mexico border was a change for Hendrix, but not as much of a culture shock as Hollis is experiencing. Newport News, Va. and Helsinki are approximately 4,691 miles apart. It was his unrelenting passion for football that led Hollis to a new continent.
“Well, at the end of the day I love football, so why not go play in Europe and experience something new that most people won't be able to do in their lifetime,” said Hollis. “I want to and still know I have the talent to play in America and Canada and in order to do that they don't want to see guys sitting out a year or two.”
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