Train Conductor Turns Down Jets' Offer to Come Play

Ex-player says he'd rather stay with ailing parents
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2010 12:38 PM CST
This photo taken Aug. 14, 2009 shows the New York Jets' Keith Fitzhugh before an NFL football preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

(Newser) – Most guys would kill for a chance to play in the NFL, but not Keith Fitzhugh. The 24-year-old currently makes a humble living as a railroad conductor, but when the Jets called him up yesterday and asked if he’d like to play safety for them, he demurred. “I know, I haven’t won a Super Bowl; it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” says Fitzhugh, who was an undrafted rookie in 2009 and has had three stints with the team. “But you only get one mom and one dad. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

Fitzhugh tells the New Jersey Star-Ledger that it’s more important for him to have a steady stream of income—something the NFL doesn’t always provide—because he needs to support his parents. His father is disabled, and can’t work. Fitzhugh says he learned the importance of family when his little sister died of West Nile Virus five years ago at age 14. “Life is short,” he says. “I didn’t want to take a risk and lose everything again.” (Read more New York Jets stories.)

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