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This NFL hopeful’s unconventional plan

Abiola Aborishade’s ‘Plan A’ has him standing outside the Patriots’ stadium

There are those who give in to statistics. There are those who believe they are too old, too out of shape, too far beyond their primes to even entertain the idea of being an NFL player.

In football, the estimated probability of a player making it from college to the pro teams is 1.6 percent. Putting numbers into perspective, it can be a dream-shattering reality to pro sports hopefuls who have spent most of their lives waiting to have their last names, accompanied by a chosen number, embroidered on the back of a professional team’s jersey.

And then there are others, too persistent in their quests to see anything else but their names on an active NFL roster. One hopeful, wide receiver Abiola Aborishade, is a perfect example of what it means to follow your own path — no matter how many early mornings and late nights it may take, standing in the shadows of the stadium lights he one day hopes to play under.

Aborishade, 23, has been standing outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, for an average of seven hours per day since April. Depending on the time of day, his attire teeters between professional businessman and tryout-ready athlete. Aborishade never forgets his selling point: a sign with blue and red letters that describes who he is and what he can do if the New England Patriots give him a shot. The former Division III standout set records at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, including a single-season reception record that, before him, hadn’t been broken since it was set in 1998.

Though there are some detractors who believe that the receiver is failing to achieve his goals in a proper manner, there is also hope that his plan can work as it did for another athlete who took the same risk.

Last November, NFL free agent Joe Anderson’s story went viral after he stood outside NRG Stadium in Houston — complete with proper training attire and a sign that read “Not homeless …but STARVING for success” — hoping to catch the eye of Texans personnel and possibly score a workout with the team. The hashtags written in black on his cardboard sign were quickly picked up. Nearly six weeks later, the wide receiver was signed to the New York Jets’ practice squad.

“A lot of people have a Plan B,” Aborishade told MassLive.com in May. “I don’t really believe in Plan Bs. I believe that if you have a goal, go at it as hard as you can. Once you’ve done everything you possibly can to reach that Plan A, even if it doesn’t work out the way you want to, then you move on to another Plan A.”

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.