INDIANAPOLIS — Many of today's National Football League players grew up with aspirations of becoming professional athletes, though it might've been the ring — and not the 100-yard field — that first got their attention.
The WWE, with its weekly dramas, high-flying action and never-ending supply of characters, remains a favorite talking point of several players in locker rooms and team cafeterias across the league.
Not surprisingly, the draw of one day turning a football career into a chance to become one of those WWE characters never really goes away for some players.
Take Tom Pestock, for example. A guard at the Division II college level, Pestock in 2009 was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted college free agent, but his NFL career never really panned out. He was released by the team during final cuts that year, and after one final try on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad in 2010, he decided to walk away from football.
Where's Pestock now? He's one of the faster-rising talents in the WWE, wrestling under the name Baron Corbin.
Then there's Pat McAfee, who grew up hoping to one day become a professional wrestler. And after the All-Pro punter retired this past offseason from the Colts, he now trains weekly in his homemade ring trying to make his WWE dreams eventually come true.
Those aspirations didn't escape another former Colts player: Amarlo Herrera.
Herrera was a standout linebacker at the University of Georgia, and eventually became a sixth-round pick of the Colts back in 2015. He appeared in three games his rookie season, but never really was able to work his way up the depth chart.
Herrera was released by the Colts during training camp last year, and had brief stints with the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Redskins' practice squads before his release in D.C. last Sept. 27.
Though he remains a free agent, Herrera recently decided to give wrestling a shot. According to a press release, he was one of about 40 who attended a three-day tryout camp at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
So how'd he do? He told DawgNation.com’s Seth Emerson, "It went pretty well for me, I feel, with me not having a background in rassling, and me picking up on some of the stuff quick."
"I'm just going to be me," Herrera continued. "If they let me be, and whip up on people, then I'd be OK with that. But if they create a persona for me and have me doing all that, then I guess we'll have to wait for that time to come and see what that might be."
If Herrera ever reaches wrestling's big stage, he'd become the second notable Georgia football player to get there. The other? Bill Goldberg, an all-SEC defensive tackle for the Bulldogs from 1986-89.
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