For a select handful, the NFL draft is a proud moment where years of hard work end with your acceptance into professional football.
But for many others, it’s the sign that your tenure in the league is nearing an end. Or at minimum, your roster spot on your current team.
That’s how Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola felt when the team drafted Travis Swanson earlier this month, suggesting that watching the draft was the equivalent to watching somebody hit on your wife.
“Right when you see it, it’s hard. I mean, you’re human,” Raiola said Friday. “That’s been my position for 12 years. Imagine someone trying to hit on your girlfriend or your wife after dating her for 12 years.
“It’s hard, but in our business, it’s the reality of it.”
Raiola, a 12-year veteran, already had to take a significantly reduced contract to stay with the Lions, who then rewarded him by drafting what could eventually be his replacement just a few weeks later.
Despite the frustration, Raiola says the drafting of Swanson motivated him and he plans to use the fuel for the 2014 season.
Raiola conceded that at some point he knows he’s going to have to hang the cleats up, though wants it to be on his own terms.