After years of betting on himself, Brandon Copeland is hoping to cash in.
Copeland has had to switch positions -- he was a defensive lineman at the University of Pennsylvania, but the Baltimore Ravens moved him to middle linebacker in 2013 -- and revive his career by participating in the 2015 NFL Veterans Combine, where he was one of only two participants to be offered an NFL contract.
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"It's been like the stock market. It's been a roller-coaster ride the entire time, I'd say," Copeland said.
That's especially fitting considering Copeland is a graduate of The Wharton School at Penn and interned at an investment bank during summers at Penn before teaching a financial literacy class at his alma mater last year.
But his Ivy League education couldn't prepare him for the unpredictability of NFL life when the Ravens told the 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive end he'd be playing middle linebacker, a position he had never played before.
"I remember my rookie year trying to do hook-curl drops, Cover 3, all of that," Copeland said. "I was thinking about the little colored bubble in ‘Madden.' Like, ‘OK, I've got to get to this spot.' "
Copeland didn't survive the Ravens' final roster cuts, though, and spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons on the Tennessee Titans' practice squad. The Maryland native considered joining the Arena Football League in 2015 -- he actually agreed to a contract with the Orlando Predators -- before the Veteran Combine saved his career.
"Literally the initial invite, I did not get invited. Like 2,000 guys applied and they only took a hundred," Copeland said, recalling that he had to pay a $400 entry fee to attend the combine.
Copeland ran an impressive 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the combine and caught the eye of the Detroit Lions, who signed him to a one-year deal and kept on the squad for three more seasons.
Copeland, who spent the last two seasons with the New York Jets, now is tasked with helping the Patriots fill the linebacker void left by Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts. That's no easy task, but Copeland appears confident his "stock" is on the rise.
Brandon Copeland compares long journey to Patriots to the stock market originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston