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Thursday, April 22, 2004

What Happens If... I do not know a lot about NFL by-laws, so I am hoping someone can help me out with this one. What happens if a team ignores the NFL and selects Mike Williams? Perhaps more realistic, what happens if a team signs him as a non-drafted free agent? I know the league has its list of "draft-eligible" players, but would a team be forbidden or punished in any way for signing a player such as Williams? I am not sure if there is a gentlemen's agreement governing this or actual rules -- and if so, the legal force of these rules.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Response: Thank you to everyone who wrote in with the answer, which goes something like this. An amateur player cannot enter the NFL unless he is first made available through the NFL Draft. If a team selected him in the draft or signed him as a free agent, the league would not recognize his NFL rights as being allocated to that team. Thus, the NFL would not approve any contract between that team and Williams, and he would not be eligible to play in games.


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