Second Chance At NFL: New Reality Show Gives Contestants Shot At Cowboys' Roster

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IMarch 12, 2009

Andrew Hawkins played wide receiver and cornerback at Toledo, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, and is a fun guy to be around. Sounds like the makings of an NFL star, right? Wrong, well at least for now.

Hawkins (above, left) is 5-foot-8 and that's with cleats on. His small stature has caused the NFL teams to balk and to turn Hawkins down but now, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin (above) is giving Hawkins and guys like him another chance.

Irvin is the executive producer of a new reality television show called "Fourth And Long," which recently began filming. For six weeks, six wide receivers and six defensive backs will make the Cotton Bowl their home and every time someone gets cut from the show, the rest get a little more room in what used to be a locker room but has now been turned into a dorm room.

Think American Idol for football players, but instead of a record deal, the last man standing gets a spot on the training camp roster of "America's Team", the Dallas Cowboys.

The show's contestants spend their days in meetings and running drills as well as going through physical tests and apart from football, the contestants don't have much else to distract them.

"No cell phones, no iPods, no laptops, no DVDs. Can't call in, can't call out," defensive back Erick Jackson said. "They want us to focus strictly on football."

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“I’ve been waiting to do this since the first time I watched American Idol,” Irvin said Thursday. “American Idol is about singing and dreams. This is about football and dreams.”

Most of the contestants are former college football players who missed out on the NFL because of injuries, bad luck, or height issues.

Several have played in the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League, semi-pro teams, and even in a few preseason games for NFL teams but all failed to make the final 53-man roster that the winner of the show will be fighting to make whenever he goes camping with the Cowboys.

Irvin says former Cowboys teammates like Deion Sanders and former coaches will appear on the show as will Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who gave his blessing to the project.

The show debuts May 18 on Spike. New episodes will run every Monday, with the 10th and final installment airing about a week before the Cowboys open camp in San Antonio.

Good luck to all of the contestants and may the best man win!

Joshua Joffrion writes Saints Scoop, a blog dedicated to the New Orleans Saints. It can be found at He also writes Tigers Town, a blog dedicated to the LSU Fighting Tigers. It can be found at

To see highlights of Andrew Hawkins' highlights at Cleveland Browns minicamp, check out