The odds are stacked against them.
Former York County standouts Chaz Powell (Susquehannock), Wayne Tribue (Central York) and Richard Muldrow (York High) know that better than most. Making an NFL roster is hard when you're a draft pick, but when you get bypassed in the draft, it becomes much more difficult -- but not impossible.
If the local products need reason for hope, they need only look at another former York County standout who beat the odds to carve out a six-year NFL career and earn a three-year, $7.5 million contract. He also became a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bowl fullback. That success story belongs to Dover High graduate John Kuhn, who has evolved into a key cog in the Green Bay Packers' offense.
His journey from undrafted free agent to Pro Bowler hasn't been easy. After a stellar college career at Shippensburg University, Kuhn signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005. After working with the Pittsburgh practice squad and earning a brief appearance on the active roster in 2006, Kuhn was waived by the Steelers.
That proved to be the best thing that ever happened to him. He caught on with the Packers and his career has been on a steady climb ever since.
Powell, Tribue and Muldrow, who weren't picked in the 2012 draft, should use Kuhn as an example.
Powell, who bounced between offense and defense at Penn State, will try to make the Oakland Raiders as a defensive back. Tribue, who excelled at Temple, will attempt to make the Denver Broncos as an offensive lineman. Both agreed to free-agent contracts on Saturday. Muldrow, who played sparingly at Rutgers before transferring to, and excelling at, Richmond, will try earn a berth on the Raiders' offensive line after getting invited to their rookie mini-camp.
If the three county men are to follow Kuhn's lead and succeed in the NFL, they must be ready and willing to do the dirty work, especially when it comes to special-teams. They must also show up in supreme condition, know the playbook by heart and display a positive attitude. A first-round draft pick can afford to be a prima donna -- non-drafted free agents can not.
Even if Powell, Tribue and Muldrow do everything right, there's still no guarantee of success. The NFL is a heartless business. It's all about performance on the field, and nearly every player battling for a roster spot was a star college player.
For the county men to grab one of those coveted NFL roster spots, the stars will need to align perfectly. That's unlikely, but it's not impossible.
Just ask John Kuhn.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com or at 505-5407.