Monday, April 14, 2008

Rabold Hopeful for NFL Chance

Ran into John Rabold outside the Air Force football locker room the other day.

Rabold, who will graduate in May, is one of several Air Force seniors hoping to continue his football career in the pros.

I think it’s safe to say Rabold has been working hard to make that happen.

The outside linebacker, who earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors last fall, looks much bigger after a few months of hitting the weights. Rabold, who was listed at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds last season, said he’s up to about 250. And it looks like all muscle.

According to Rabold, his agent has been getting calls from NFL teams. Most are wary of his military commitment, however, and that likely means he will go undrafted.

(Air Force grads are required to spend five years on active duty, though those who have the opportunity to land a job that will have public relations benefits for the Air Force – like playing in the NFL – can get an early release from active duty. Instead of their final three years of active duty, they’d serve six in the reserves.)

Rabold hopes if he does not get drafted a team will sign him as a free agent. He’d then use his 60 days of leave following graduation to participate in that team’s preseason camps. He’d then stay in shape while on active duty, use subsequent leave time to take part in other team camps and then hopefully make the team after two years of active duty service.

Sounds like a tall order, but Rabold seems like he is serious about making it happen. And from what I’ve heard, Rabold is the most intriguing of the Air Force seniors with pro aspirations (including inside linebacker Drew Fowler and receiver/running back/returner Chad Hall, among others) to NFL scouts.


Anonymous said...

I'm doubtful Rabold has the speed for the NFL. Anthony Schlegal had a much better college career and he is turning out to be no more than an NFL journeyman.

Jim said...


While I have great admiration for Anthony Schlegal, you must remember one thing. He did not stay at the Academy through graduation, as Rabold is doing. A couple of years more of Academy training under one's belt might be the difference between becoming a journeyman or becoming a master in the NFL. You just never know. Best wishes to John in whatever pursuit he chooses!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Rabold. I agree with Jim regarding Schlegel, who left the Academy and did not benefit from two more years there. I disagree that Schlegel had a "much better college career" than Rabold. Rabold was a first-team all-conference player. Schlegel was not. If he had stayed at the Academy maybe he could have been, but he didn't, so we'll never know. I'm more concerned with a young man like Rabold who didn't quit the Academy but rather hung in there and not only survived the rigorous four years but flourished in it. Good luck, John. I hope you find great success in the future.

Anonymous said...

Rabold's speed is not in question. If you look at his pro day numbers he ranks up there with the other LBs in this class. I think his pro shuttle time was at the top end of Lbs somewhere in the top 5 and actually bet out alot of WR times.

Dont know if many of you remember but Anthony Schlegal was a loose canon. Something I think plagued him at Ohio State and now in the NFL off the field.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage Rabold to continue following his dreams. I saw him at the AF Football Banquet and he looked huge and as determined as Jake's article reports. It's too bad to see guys like him work so hard to make it to the next level while the more gifted players at top name schools take things for granted and cruise through without acheiving their potential.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered talking to the academy about the Army's policy change. What would be the process for making this a DOD policy change. I would hate to see a young man loose out on a dream like this. There is a lot that the service academies can benefit from a policy change. Not to mention that this will only happen every blue moon. What are your thoughts

Anonymous said...

The potential PR benefits of having a small handful of service academy grads in professional sports is immeasurable. PLUS, you don't cut them loose from their obligation altogether! You should have them serve 8 years as an Admissions Liaison Officer in the reserves ... a career path that is flexible enough to allow for success in professional sports, and completely consistent with the PR value of what they're doing.

I have no idea why the Academy and DOD hasn't implemented a policy like this already. It seems like just a sensible thing to do. Why have these very, very small number of world-class athletes serving as anonymous second lieutenants when you can reap the benefits of their talents by taking a more sensible approach!

Anonymous said...

It looks like Karl Bolt is being allowed to continue to play minor league baseball. What's the story there? Has the AF quietly changed its policy?

Anonymous said...

The current Air Force policy, which is back in consonance with the other services (and known as the "David Robinson rule"), is two years of active duty at a minimum when you have an executed major sports league contract. I am unaware of any changes to this policy, and generally athletes participating in major league sports prior to the two-year service period are doing so on their own time. Because of Chad Hennings, the Air Force is well aware of the publicity value of having its graduates on a national stage, even if it's an athletic one. One problem that Academy football players have is that because the academic year ends so late (versus other colleges), they are effectively unable to participate in post-draft minicamps because of an agreement between the NFL and the NCAA. This has been a limiting factor for several players, and virtually guarantees that these kids will not be drafted, or given particularly strong consideration as free agents. In other words, they either have to be really talented, or one of the scouts or coaches has to really like them to get them in the door.