Ten years ago at the age of 30, Tarran McCoy of Sweetwater left his home-town for the Washington Redskinsâ€™ training camp in Landover, Md. to try out for a job, and survived the first cut before being let go about a month before the start of the regular season.
A decade later at age 40 â€” an age when NFL players are usually well into their next careers â€” he is ready to try again.
In a couple of weeks, McCoy â€” the older brother of former Sweetwater High School star David Terrell, who from 2000-03 played defensive back for the Redskins and spent his final NFL season with the Oakland Raiders â€” will go to the Redskinsâ€™ training camp location at Richmond, Va. where he hopes to play on the special teams unit.
While McCoy admits he may have lost a step or two from his prime, he thinks he still has the necessary speed to play in the NFL. In 2003, McCoy said he was capable of running the 40-year dash in 4.2 or 4.3 seconds.
â€śIâ€™m not as fast as I used to be, but Iâ€™m fast enough to make a hit,â€ť he said. â€śI donâ€™t feel like Iâ€™m too old.â€ť
McCoy has lived in Sweet-water most of his life, but played high school football in Nacogdoches and was also a track standout, going to the state meet in both the 400 and 800 meters.
In 1999 and 2000, he was a cornerback and free safety for the Abilene Thunderbirds, a semi-professional team, and he also tried out unsuccessfully in 2001 for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.
While he never completely lost his desire to try out again, McCoy said he didnâ€™t get serious until this past April after receiving en-ouragement from friends, family members and other people he dealt with.
â€śA lot of people asked me if (the Redskins) gave me another shot would I do it,â€ť he said. â€śI finally decided to go. I just wanted the oppor-tunity to do it again.â€ť
And until very recently, he said, his brother â€” who is two years younger â€” planned to join him in that pursuit. But citing family considerations, Terrell has decided to accompany McCoy to Richmond in a support role only. The tryout is scheduled to take place from Aug. 13-15.
The 5-10 McCoy weighed about 187 pounds the last time he tried out for the Redskins, but said he was about 50 pounds heavier at the time he decided to give it another shot. Since then he has changed his diet and now weighs about 196.
â€śWhen I was at 235, I knew I couldnâ€™t do this without getting tired,â€ť he said. â€śSince then Iâ€™ve been working out more. Iâ€™ve also done lots of running, walking and lifting weights, but the biggest change was my diet. I gave up spicy stuff and ate more salads.â€ť
He hopes that leads to another big change â€” playing for the Redskins.