Atlantic City native Jack Corcoran and Millville native Dwayne Hendricks spent last spring participating in NFL minicamps with the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, respectively.
One year later, they are pursuing separate dreams.
Corcoran, 35 pounds lighter and a ton happier than when he was trying to make it as an NFL fullback, competed over the weekend in the Northeast Regionals of the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games in Canton, Mass., outside of Boston.
He finished 24th among 46 competitors, an encouraging showing for a first-time participant.
“My desire for football just isn’t there anymore,” Corcoran said before the regionals. “It was fun while it lasted, but I’m done with it.”
Like Corcoran, who was released by the 49ers at the end of training camp last summer, Hendricks was out of football during the 2012 season, save for a brief stint with the Virginia Destroyers of the now-defunct United Football League.
But the 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle hopes to get another opportunity.
“I’m not done, yet,” Hendricks said.
Corcoran, 25, has been devoting all his time and energy to CrossFit since he tried it about a year ago on the advice of John Stone, a Mainland Regional High School alumnus who spent some time as a wide receiver on New England’s practice squad.
It turned out to be the perfect fit for Corcoran, who possesses all of the attributes — agility, endurance, speed, strength and mental toughness — to excel.
Corcoran was one of the area’s top all-around athletes during his high school career at St. Joseph’s, earning The Press Male Athlete of the Year award for the 2005-06 school year after winning a state wrestling championship and earning a football scholarship to Rutgers University.
After enjoying a solid career with the Scarlet Knights, Corcoran signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent and then spent most of the 2010 season on Tennessee’s practice squad. He signed a three-year contract with the 49ers in 2011 and spent that season on their practice squad before getting released at the end of training camp last August.
“It just got too hard for me to keep weight on while going through all the ups and downs of that life,” Corcoran said. “But I’m still a competitive guy and CrossFit feeds my competitive fire. I’m having way more fun now than when I was playing football. I wish I had found this earlier.”
He got off to a slow start with CrossFit but has made a lot of progress — he is director of the CrossFit program at Oceanside Wellness and Sport in Egg Harbor Township.
The 6-1, 200-pounder placed 29th in the first round of qualifying for the Games — the top 48 earned berths at regionals — to join 2012 participant Paul Smith, a former Holy Spirit football player, as the second member of CrossFit OWS (Oceanside Wellness and Sport) to make it to that level level in as many years.
Corcoran competed in a grueling, three-day event that ended Sunday and featured seven workouts. For example, on Saturday morning, he was required to perform 100 wall balls, 100 chest-to-bar pullups, 100 one-legged squats and 100 one-arm dumbbell snatches with 70 pounds. Later that day, he was asked to do 21-15-9 reps of 315-pound deadlifts and 30-inch box jumps.
The top three finishers in each region advanced to the national CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., from July 22-29.
“I was lousy when I first started this, but everyone needs to be humbled at some point in their life,” Corcoran said. “Everyone has something they’re not good at with this and that’s what you have to work on the most. I’m looking at this as an experience that will help me in future years. Don’t get me wrong. I’m as competitive as anybody and I want to do well. But I’m also realistic. To be honest, I’m just thrilled to be going.
“This is what I love doing the most. Football is no longer a part of my life. I don’t even watch it on TV.”
Hendricks, 26, isn’t ready to give it up.
The former standout at Millville High School and the University of Miami spent three seasons in the Giants’ system after signing with them as an unrestricted free agent in 2009. In 2011, he was promoted to the active roster for five games and made his NFL debut by playing on special teams against New England that year. He spent the postseason on the Giants’ practice squad but still received a Super Bowl ring that season.
He was wearing it proudly Wednesday when he participated in the ninth annual Charity Golf Tournament and Youth Clinic at Mays Landing Golf & Country Club for the benefit of Family Service Association.
“I was a little bit late getting here because it took a while for the bank to let me take it out of the safety deposit box,” Hendricks said with a laugh. “I always keep it in a safe place except for special occasions.”
Hendricks, who was playing golf for the first time Wednesday, also wore his No. 74 Giants jersey. He hopes to wear a jersey again by the time NFL teams report to training camp in late July.
He’s been working out daily while also checking in with a new agent, New York-based Lawrence McGivney, once a week. Hendricks said he had a private workout last month with an NFL team he declined to identify and said at least 10 teams have expressed interest in signing him.
“I’m expecting to be in an NFL training camp,” Hendricks said. “It’s just a matter of when and where.”
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