Life in the NFL can be short for the many that try and make a living from it. With every franchise pick comes along a player fighting against the odds looking to earn their chance to make a living in this crazy world. Former Bearcat Clint Stickdorn is now one of these many men trying to make a living.
After finishing his career at the University of Cincinnati, offensive tackle Clint Stickdorn of Baltimore, Ohio found several teams looking to bring him in as a "Free Agent". One such team was his childhood favorite the Cleveland Browns.
Fighting against heavy odds, Stickdorn impressed the Browns management enough to be offered a rookie contract and an invite to training camp in July. That offer fulfills a lifelong dream for Clint and his family.
Bearcat Insider spoke with Clint about this weekend and the steps taken to fulfill his NFL dream.
Growing up Clint Stickdorn learned about the Cleveland Browns from his grandfather and father. The older family members were die-hard Browns backers and made sure young Clint knew who to root for on Sundays.
Getting the chance to put on the colors of his favorite teams was bittersweet for Clint. "My grandfather and father are big Browns fans. They made sure I had all the hats, shirts and team clothing to wear around school and show my support of the Browns. Getting the chance to wear that helmet and jersey is really something special for me. We lost my grandfather before the start of my senior year in a farming accident. In a way I felt he was watching over me this weekend while I was at mini-camp. I know he's watching me and enjoying the fact I'm with the Browns."
While Clint didn't receive the call during the two days of the draft, the Browns were calling and making sure Clint knew they had interest in him. "I was a wreck. I haven't sleep a good night over the past two weeks with all that has happened. I sat there and watched the first 20 picks or so and you just feel horrible after each pick is made. And then on Sunday you watch to see if you get selected and watch while players you've played against are selected and you start to think if it's going to happen or not. But as the draft went on my agent and I started getting some calls from teams looking at me as a free agent. The Browns called on draft day and after looking at all of the teams that showed interest I felt they were the best chance for me."
And while becoming a Brown is a dream, Clint knows the odds are against him. "I've got the support of my family and a great girlfriend who I've been with since high school. I want to give it a shot and see what happens. That way I can always say I gave everything I had and gave it my best shot. I know I'll have to earn my way onto the team, but if I do, then I know I belong."
While Clint is working towards the goal almost all college players have, he hasn't forgotten the other important goals in life. "I'm two classes away from my degree in marketing and management. I want to finish my degree because I have plans of getting married to my girlfriend Amanda Miller, and have some jobs lined up if things don't work out in the league. Make sure you put her name in this story, she's been so special and given me great support during the good and bad of playing football."
In talking about his Bearcat career Clint was very strong for his feeling for the university. "The University of Cincinnati has given me so much. The chance to play college football and the chance to earn a degree are because of it. I own it a lot."
Just like we have with the other members of this past season's senior class, we asked Clint to speak about the coaching change and Coach Dantonio. "Coach Dantonio brought in a great staff to UC. He gave the seniors leadership and didn't look to rebuild things. He wanted to us to win and win now. I along with many of the other players was attached to the previous staff and didn't know what to think when the coaching change happened, but Coach Dantonio made it a great experience for all of us seniors and I respect him for that."
Before we ended our conversation with Clint, we spoke about having his Bearcat offensive line coach Jeff Uhlenhake with him at the Browns. "It's different than what it was at UC. This is business and that was college. Coach Uhlenhake gave me some pointers and I took advantage of that, but friendships are not something you can count on in the NFL, they have to go with the best players."
Bearcat Insider would like to thank Clint for taking the time and talking about his great weekend at Browns rookie mini-camp. We wish him the best and look forward to watching his development over the coming months as a Cleveland Brown.