As hopefuls across the league learned whether or not they made an NFL roster, one captivating story now has a happy ending.
On Tuesday — the notorious NFL cutdown day — WR Jared Bernhardt was named to the Atlanta Falcons’ 53-man roster during the team’s final cutdowns.
Bernhardt’s story is extremely unique, as it crosses sports and football positions.
The 24-year-old played college lacrosse at Maryland, winning a national championship in 2017 and the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s best player in 2021.
He utilized his last season of college sports eligibility to transfer and play quarterback at Ferris State. He ran for 1,457 yards and 12 touchdowns, and passed for 751 yards and six touchdowns on his way to leading the Bulldogs to a Division II national championship.
The Falcons signed him to a reported three-year, $2.6 million ($855K AAV) deal as an undrafted free agent — and were apparently impressed enough with his preseason at wide receiver to keep that contract on the books.
Had Bernhardt gone back to lacrosse after Ferris, he almost certainly would have been the first overall pick in the 2022 PLL College Draft — which reportedly would have netted him a three-year, $90,000 ($30K AAV) contract.
But if the NFL doesn’t ultimately work out, the PLL could serve as an enticing backup option: Bernhardt’s brothers — Jake and Jesse — both play in the league.