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He began with no athletic ability. His pass-catching skills were so bad that he was told he couldn't catch a cold if he were butt-naked. He fell flat on his facemask during a six-minute jog. He was tormented by referees, subjected to rookie initiation pranks, called Rudy by fans and intimidated by a 250-pound ex-NFL player.

Welcome to Jeff Foley's adventure in the Arena Football League. A five-foot-six, 180-pound writer, Foley is every bit the average individual. But the AFL's Albany Firebirds agreed to let him join their squad as an offensive specialist/writer in 1999 and 2000. So, despite never having played a down of organized football ? no Pop Warner, high school or college gridiron experience ? Foley played in three professional contests, running pass patterns against seasoned athletes, competing in front of more than 10,000 people. He lived every fan's dream. Or nightmare?

He endured grueling practice sessions, hits, injuries and road trips, and attended team meetings and meals. He was a part of locker room conversations. He was overjoyed by the thrill of success, and dealt with the disappointment that accompanies failure. Foley experienced all life in the AFL has to offer. And lived to write about it.

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