By now Mike Furrey's story is familiar. Walked on at Ohio State. Transferred to Northern Iowa. Didn't get drafted. Got cut by the Colts. Played in the XFL and Arena League. Spent three seasons with the Rams - two as a wide receiver, one as a safety. Broke out as a wide receiver with the Lions last season.
But that's just the outline.
In the spring of 2003, Furrey was leading the Arena League in major receiving categories. He was on pace to earn $30,000 to $40,000 in incentives - a huge deal, because he and his fiancee had to pay for their upcoming wedding.
Then another Northern Iowa guy called. It was Kurt Warner. Rams coach Mike Martz was interested in giving Mike a shot that off-season.
Furrey was worried about quitting the Arena League. Give up those incentives? There was only a month to go in the season. They needed the money.
"Kurt's like, 'If you wait, you might not make the team because you have to learn the playbook. Our offense is so complicated, you need to get out here tomorrow,' " Koren Furrey said.
Mike quit the Arena League. Not only did he give up the incentives, he had to repay his $10,000 signing bonus. He went to St. Louis - and scrimped.
Koren was living in Cincinnati and working for Ford Motor Co. as a zone manager in Indianapolis. She racked up hotel points. At first, they were able to use those points so Mike could stay at a Hampton Inn in St. Louis for free. Then the points ran out.
On weekends, Mike would drive to Cincinnati to stay at Koren's house. Sometimes, he would drive to Indianapolis to stay in Koren's hotel room. Other times, he slept in his Ford Expedition in the parking lot of the Rams' practice facility.
"He would be there early to take a shower," Koren said. "Nobody knew what he was doing. They just thought he came from the hotel."
After the wedding and honeymoon, Mike went to training camp - and suffered a sprained ankle. Koren came to St. Louis for cut day with everything they owned packed into the Expedition.
"He's like, 'When I come back, we're either going to look for an apartment or we're going to drive back to Cincinnati. Either I'm in or I'm out,' " Koren said.
Mike's locker had been cleaned out, and his stuff was in a bag. He started crying. An equipment manager asked what was wrong, and Mike said, "What am I going to tell my wife?"
"The guy's like, 'Hey, I just moved your locker next to Torry's,' " Koren said. "Mike's like, 'What?' "