Ranking the five best semi-pro football players of all-time:


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Photo credit: Focus on Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Kendrick Ings- With no college experience Ings stands out because he actually signed with the Detroit Lions. Before Ings climbed the rankings to become a professional football player he played for the Atlanta Chiefs semi-pro football team. It just goes to show that if you have the talent and the drive you can make it.

Vincent Papale- Vince Papale is known for being the inspiration for the movie Invincible. He spent time with the Aston Green Knights semi-pro football team before eventually landing a tryout with the World Football League. From there Papale would do the unthinkable by making the Philadelphia Eagles roster back in 1976. It was a hell of a run for a guy that was just chasing his dreams

Michael Lewis- The Michael Lewis story is an interesting one. He was driving a beer truck and playing semi-pro football. Before going on to play for the New Orleans Saints. Lewis would become a kick and punt return specialist that was a threat every time he touched the ball. That tells you just how fast he was.

Eric Swann- Swann was supposed to attend North Carolina State but was academically ineligible. So Swann took his talents to the Bay State Titans in Lynn, Massachusetts. Perhaps the craziest thing about this story is Swann was drafted 6th overall (first round) by the Arizona Cardinals in 1991. He’s the only player to be drafted off a semi-pro football team and Swann ended up going to 2 Pro Bowls.

Johnny Unitas- It’s amazing that the Baltimore Colts plucked a Hall of Fame quarterback off a semi-pro football team in Pittsburgh. Unitas was a member of the Bloomfield Rams when the Colts came knocking. And the rest they say is history. Unitas would win a Super Bowl, 3 NFL titles (pre-Super Bowl championship), go on to 10 Pro Bowls, and become a Hall of Famer. Not bad for a guy that was just barely getting by.

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