Think the life of a professional athlete is glamorous?
Sure, the pay is good.
But imagine waking up Monday, being summoned to a city you barely know to try out for people you've never met, and if you’re lucky enough to get the gig, leave your family in Atlanta and spend 18 hours a day trying to learn the playbook, on the off chance catastrophe strikes.
That, in a nutshell, is T.J. Yates' existence.
But hey, it could be worse. For most of the last calendar year, he’d have killed for that type of week.
Yates is the Dolphins’ backup quarterback for as long as Ryan Tannehill is out. Before signing with the Dolphins Tuesday, the ex-Texan had been out of the league since tearing his ACL last December.
Yates had a couple of tryouts since -- one with New England, the other with Denver -- but this was by far his most promising lead.
“I got the call -- let’s see, what day was that? What day is it today? I have no idea,” Yates said. (It was Wednesday.) “I got the call Monday morning. I was actually on the way to the gym just to train, and my agent called to tell me they wanted to bring me in for a workout and a possible signing, so I hopped on the next flight and got here as soon as possible.”
Yates continued: “It’s just been nonstop football ever since I got here. Just going back to the hotel real quick to take a six-hour nap and come right back here and get back at it. Just in the meeting rooms trying to get it down.”
Granted, this is not a unique story. It happens to dozens of NFL players every week. The allure of one last shot is enough to keep them in football shape year-round.
And Yates insists he’s in shape. Doctors medically cleared his knee at the beginning of the season. He’s worked out at Georgia Tech during his unemployment, throwing passes to whomever he could find.
Now, he’s throwing passes to Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker.
“I’ve tried to introduce myself as much as possible,” Yates said. “I introduced myself to almost the entire offensive line the first play I got in there. I said, ‘Hi, how you guys doing?’ There were a couple laughs because I hadn’t really spoken to any of those guys before then.”