Jim Morrissey's path to the NFL

Jim Morrissey's path to the NFL
September 21, 2013, 3:00 am
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Mark Strotman

Jim Morrissey waited, waited and waited some more. But he never got the call he had waited all night for.

It was May 1, 1985, and the party Morrissey's family had arranged for the NFL Draft that day was slowly dwindling in number, until only the Michigan State linebacker, his fiance Amy and a few of her roommates remained.

After two all-Big Ten seasons and 329 career tackles for the Spartans, Morrissey expected to have his name called somewhere between the fourth and six rounds of the 12-round draft. But as the clock turned to midnight, he hadn't received the call he wanted. Both the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys phoned him, telling him that, despite having gone undrafted, they'd like for him to enter training camp as a free agent to compete for a spot on the roster.

That didn't interest him. He wanted to be drafted or else he'd give up his football career entirely, opting to begin his career outside of football instead of fighting just to earn a spot at the end of the roster.

But around 1 a.m., Morrissey received a third phone call. It was the Chicago Bears. They had selected him in the 11th round but, because Morrissey never filled out any paperwork with the team, they didn't have a phone number they could reach him at to let him know that his childhood dream had come true.

Morrissey went to Chicago that year, earned a spot as a special teams player and was part of the 1985 Bears team that went 15-1 and wound up winning Super Bowl XX. In that win over the Patriots, Morrissey intercepted a pass and returned it 47 years, good today for the 12th longest in Super Bowl history.

He played nine seasons in the NFL and his youngest son, Matt, is now dominating the competition for the Stevenson Patriots. To read more about Jim's journey and how he has helped his son grow into a Division I athlete and leader off the field, check out the latest edition of Drive: Stevenson football.