An NAIA player and former Marine is ditching his dream of playing in the NFL at age 30 to re-enlist after the tragedy on Monday at the Boston Marathon.
Brandon O'Brien was a wide receiver for NAIA Montana State-Northern after serving four years in the Marines, including two tours in Iraq, and had been training for a shot -- albeit a long shot -- at pro football. Instead, the bombing in the streets of Boston compelled him to re-enlist in the Marines, NFL.com reported Tuesday.
O'Brien felt a "big hole in his heart," agent Brad Berkowitz told NFL.com.
According to the New England Sports Network, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound O'Brien was hoping to make an NFL roster as a special-teams player. A former walk-on at Kentucky, he left school to help his family financially, working at several jobs before following family members into the Marines.
While serving his country during his second tour in Iraq, O'Brien received the Navy and Marines Corps Metal for his heroism, saving fellow soldiers caught in a riptide.
O'Brien had participated in the NFL's regional combine in Houston on Feb. 16 and at his school's pro day on March 18 in hopes of attracting scouts' attention.