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Eagles' fringe players have stories to tell

7/10/2014

There are fascinating stories on every NFL team.

And not just from the All-Pro players.

Philadelphiaeagles.com editor Dave Spadaro provided a detailed look at a number of fringe players on the Eagles and how they made their way to simply compete for a spot in the NFL.

Frances Mays is 6-foot-9 and 291 pounds, and he's hoping to cement a position on the defensive line.

Mays hasn't played organized football for very long.

"I never played sports," Mays said. "I don't really have a good reason why, I just never did. Then when I was 18, I was a senior in high school, I figured I'd give football a shot. Now that I've been playing football, I don't know how I ever did without it. I love it. I love the physicality of the game, love the competition. It changed my life. It's funny how things work out sometimes."

Offensive lineman Karim Barton hails from Jamaica and eventually wound up at Morgan State. He lacks experience but he has plenty of motivation to succeed.

"Football came to me as a second sport," Barton told the web site. "I grew up playing soccer and cricket, but I was big in high school, so everyone told me to play football. But I was like, 'No, I don't want to break my neck, I don't want to hurt myself.' But when junior year came, I finally thought, OK, because of my size I'm going to play. So I started playing, and then I started getting the [recruitment] letters from universities, at which point I thought, alright, this is a ticket to college here. But at the end of high school, I didn't get any concrete offers, so I went to a junior college called COC [College of the Canyons].

"I was qualified [academically] out of high school, so I didn't need to stay there two years," he added. "In fall semester 2009, I earned a scholarship from Morgan State, and from spring 2010 to last fall, I played my college ball there. I graduated last fall with a bachelor's [degree] in business administration, and here I am now."