vv-30 - Ex-Byu Star Puts Sabbath Above NFL By Mark Kram...

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1 Ex-Byu Star Puts Sabbath Above NFL By Mark Kram Knight-Ridder Newspapers "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." - Exodus 20:8 PROVO, Utah - Whenever Eli Herring stares at the pile of bills that has collected on the table, or squeezes behind the wheel of his beat-up old car, or speculates on how hard the years ahead will be financially, he wonders how it would have been if he had just told the NFL "yes" and signed with the Oakland Raiders. With one pass of the pen, he could have had the house and car and long-term security that comes with having an ample bank account. It could have been that easy, if only the NFL and Eli Herring had not come to a theological parting: The NFL plays on the Sabbath. Eli Herring keeps it holy. Big, strong and talented, the 6-foot-8, 335-pound Herring was one of the top offensive tackles in college football as a senior at Brigham Young University a year ago. NFL scouts had slotted him as a first- to third-round selection in the April draft. Raiders took chance Even after he sent a letter to each of the 30 NFL teams explaining to them that he would not pursue an NFL career because of his Mormon beliefs, the Raiders drafted him in the sixth round in the hope that he would have a sudden change of heart when he realized the financial windfall he was turning down. The Raiders even dispatched the personnel director and an assistant coach to Provo with a $500,000-a-year offer, but Herring told him with characteristic politeness: "Money is not the issue here." The issue is deeper than that - far deeper - and it is one that Eli Herring and his wife, Jennifer, labored over. Today, both profess to be content with the decision to pass up the NFL, despite the fact that it will take Herring 20 years teaching in the Utah public-school system to earn what the Raiders would have paid him in a single season. Currently living on an academic stipend with his wife and 18-month-old daughter, Hannah, while he finishes his degree at BYU, Herring will earn a starting salary of $22,000 to teach math when he graduates, and hopes to supplement that income coaching high-school football.
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2 Content with decision While there are certain aspects of the sport that have been hard to leave - the camaraderie and "sense of belonging to something" - Eli Herring is certain that when he looks back on it 10 or 20 years from now, he will decide that he did the right thing. "Not that I would not have liked to have been in the NFL, but Sunday is a church day," Herring, 26, says as he sits in an old chair in the cluttered living room of his two-bedroom apartment. "One of our guiding principles as Christians is the Ten Commandants and the Lord has told us there and in the scriptures to `keep the Sabbath holy.' The Lord has said that those who do enjoy certain promises, and I just decided that I would be better off in the long run if I obeyed His desires." He pauses. Suddenly, a grin forms on his large face and Eli Herring adds: "Though a couple of hundred
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2011 for the course BUS M 301 taught by Professor Jimbrau during the Winter '11 term at BYU.

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vv-30 - Ex-Byu Star Puts Sabbath Above NFL By Mark Kram...

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