5'10" AND MAKING A BIG IMPRESSION ON THE NFLby Eliseo Taborda, Williamsville, NYDoug Flutie of the Buffalo Bills is 5' 10" and making NFL minimum wage. He is also one of the biggest surprises of the season. Flutie is rated third in the American Football Conference with 202 of 354 attempts completed, 2,711 yards, 20 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. But many people still think he is a new star from the CFL (Canadian Football League). People are gradually learning about his 1984 game-winning Hail Mary pass for Boston College, but they are still forgetting one small thing - Flutie played in the U.S. before he played in Canada.The Hail Mary pass won him the Heisman Trophy. After Boston College, Flutie played in the USFL (United States Football League) for the New Jersey Generals. Flutie had his big chance when the Chicago Bears welcomed him into the NFL. After two seasons that welcome soon wore out and he was traded to the New England Patriots. It seemed he was cursed when the Patriots also released him after two seasons. Flutie then turned to the CFL. In Canada, he was picked up by the Stampeders and then the Argonauts. There Flutie won three Grey Cups along with six MVP awards. After years away, Flutie got a second chance in the NFL.Flutie was offered $285,000 with a $50,000 signing bonus by the Buffalo Bills as the backup quarterback to support Todd Collins, Alex van Pelt and Billy Joe Hobart. Then, he was hit with another disappointment: the Bills picked up second-string quarterback Rob Johnson, who had a one starting game career, as the new headman for the Bills. This meant Flutie had to work harder. Johnson, their expensive new star, didn't strengthen the Bill's already poor offense. Three games into the season, Johnson was benched with a rib injury. At last, Flutie got his chance to start with a superb performance, including the game-winning touchdown against the 4-0 Jaguars. He went on to a comeback victory against the Dolphins. He took a 1-3 team and helped make them a 9-6 team. He was named the new starting quarterback over the healthy Johnson. The Bills also gave Flutie more money.Flutie is also bringing in money from another source: Flutie Flakes. Three years ago his son, Doug Jr., was diagnosed with autism. Flutie and his wife launched the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and donate a portion of the profits from these cereal sales. The cereal was such a hit in Buffalo that stores had to start rationing the number of boxes per shopper.This could be the season of Doug Flutie, with his career going great and the entire Buffalo community behind him. It goes to show that, no matter how big or small you are, as long as the dream is there, you can defeat the odds. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.