Wendell Bryant: "I Got A Second Chance"

We caught up with former Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Wendell Bryant after he was drafted tonight by the United Football League’s Las Vegas franchise.
The former first-round draft pick, who was booted out of the NFL due to repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, expressed excitement during a telephone interview about getting another chance to play football.  Bryant was cut by the Cardinals in 2005 after being suspended for a year due to a positive drug test.
Clean and sober for nearly a year, Bryant emphasized that he’s determined to prove himself.
“I got a second chance by the grace of God and this 12-step program,” Bryant said from his home in Phoenix.  “I’ve been able to come to a place of peace now.  All I wanted was a second chance and I got what I wanted.  Now, I’ve got to show and prove myself.
“I’m just excited to be back on the field and run around and chase people.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m ready to go get it.  I can’t wait to run around until I’m out of breath.  This is going to be so much fun.”
Bryant didn’t know that he had been drafted by Las Vegas until receiving a telephone call from PFT.
The former Wisconsin standout wasn’t totally surprised that he’s remaining on the West Coast and will be playing for former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel.
Bryant spoke with Fassel prior to the draft and had a hunch that they would meet again soon.
“Coach Fassel seems like a really straightforward guy who wants to get the absolute best out of his players,” Bryant said.  “He’s very in tune with the offensive side of the ball.  He has a great staff.  I’m looking forward to being a part of it.  I hope we do so well that he doesn’t even have to focus on the defense. . . .
“From what I’ve gathered, this is like a minor league farm system for the NFL.  When NFL Europe was canceled, so much was lost as far as having a farm system for the NFL.  I’m looking forward to getting some significant playing time and game film, but I’m mostly looking forward to just playing the game again and being a part of a team.  I can’t say enough about how grateful and hungry I am.”
Bryant, who lives in Phoenix, is thrilled that he’ll be able to remain close to his family, including a young daughter, in order to maintain the support system that has helped him turn around his life.
“I’m not going to be far from the people that I love, I’ll be able to see my family,” Bryant said.  “I wouldn’t have this opportunity if not for my family and my sobriety.  They keep me grounded, humble and on track to succeed.
“With them behind me, it has been real easy for me to get up and work out and stay on my diet and do everything that I’m supposed to do.  It feels so good to be able to say, ‘I’m a football player again, not an ex-football player.’ I promise you, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

18 responses to “Wendell Bryant: "I Got A Second Chance"

  1. Wiping Tears From My Eyes.
    What a beautiful story.
    So….. P.F.T. is now making phone calls to dig out stories. Is your call center hiring? I was a top producer at the call center for GINZU Food Processors (In Home Sales Division.) for 5 yrs.
    “I can do it coach… Just give me a chance”

  2. Hey, what happened? Since when did Wendell Bryant’s agent become a contributor to this site? Did Mike just hand over the keys and crawl in the trunk?

  3. The NFL needs a legitimate farm system outside of college football. 95% of those guys DO NOT belong in college – period. Nor should they have to go to get a shot at the NFL.
    The UFL will provide a platform for Blue Chippers coming outta high school to show what they can do WITHOUT worrying about classes they couldn’t care less about. If the UFL could play in Spring and develop young hotshots and second-chancers, it’d be worth watching, and more football can only be a good thig…

  4. Wow, an uplifting story about a football player? On PFT? To think only a few years ago you were probably calling this guy human garbage.
    I hope he keeps up this attitude and works out well in the UFL. I’m glad he has turned his life around, he seems to “get it” now.

  5. You should of gave it everything you had when you were in the NFL. A little to late dude. Big difference in paychecks. You choose to use drugs instead of playing NFL football.

  6. First question… Is the UFL going to be an indoor arena league? I lack the motivation to even investigate.
    If this league is a 100 yard “minor” league for football, I fully endorse it (not that my endorsement merits any authentication).
    It would be friggin’ awesome to have a startup league that adhere’s to NFL rules and regulations. From Mike Vick to Wendell Bryant. I think that this could evolve into something great. Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick. If he wasn’t drafted, we’d now nothing about him. This gives players the chance to progress. Some on the greatest players ever were high round draft picks that would benefit teams as a backup. They progressed, learned, and now look at them.

  7. “I promise you, I’m gong to give it everything I’ve got.”
    was it gong or did you mean bong???
    Sorry Wendell … good luck with your comeback ….

  8. Just what we need…another football league that will bomb. More criminals, drug addicts and drunks trying to get a check…will Goodell have anything to do with this league?

  9. thats awesome wendell!!!!!!!i prayed that you would find your path..im glad to see you at least get a chance to show your worth on the field!!in my opinion you already have shown your worth as a man…………….p.s thanks for the phone call it meant alot……..goood luck

  10. SirSuperSouthern, there are two main reasons the NFL makes players wait three seasons before they can enter the draft.
    1. Most kids coming out of high school are not physically prepared to play professional football. They haven’t fully developed yet and need the time in school to fill out. Just because the players in the UFL won’t be as good doesn’t mean that they won’t be big and hit hard. Most 18-year olds, even ones who will eventually become good enough to play in the NFL, can’t take that kind of punishment.
    2. A miniscule percentage of even Division 1-A players are good enough to play in the NFL. That doesn’t mean that a lot more don’t think they are when they graduate high school. I guarantee that were the UFL to allow players coming out of high school, there would be an influx of arrogant high school graduates thinking that they can hit the big time, and most of them won’t. Then what? The NFL creates an incentive to go to college because that way even if players flame out of the league, they still have an education to fall back on. Even if they don’t care in college, once their pro opportunities are gone they will be glad they went.

  11. I’m happy for him turning around his life… it seems like he’s matured and is now on the right path. I hope everything works out for him.

  12. Since he’s such a great guy now and he’s changed and everything, when will he be returning all the money he stole from the AZ Cardinals?
    Yes it was a stupid draft pick in the first place, but wasting a 1st-round pick on someone who would rather party than work set that franchise back quite a bit at the time.

  13. I’ll admit I’m usually very suspect when it comes to “reformed” drug addicts that have been suspended for a year and wasted first round draft talent but this guy seems to have his act together. He wasn’t shy when speaking about his sobreity or support structure necessary to keep him sober. I wish him the best and I’ll have to keep am eye out to see if he can make the most of his second chance – I hope he does.

  14. Wendell may never have been an “addict”. But he did repeatedly make choices to risk his career in order to get high; at the time he placed a great priority on it. It appears that he has examined his life in a thorough manner and that he has taken concrete steps to address this issue. He loves his family and he loves football, and even if he never gets another NFL snap, through hard work he has made himself a better person. I hope he shreds him some O-line.

  15. glad to see a good story here. good for Wendell. I hope he is genuine and takes this second shot serious.
    i don’t understand why people would jump on this guy. Many people squander their chance – how many take honest steps to correct themselves (witness Wendell’s completion of a 12-step program and identifying his family as his support structure). Sounds like the guy finally sees things from a mature angle – i wish him the best.
    Kudos to the UFL! I hope it takes off

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