Sports

Keith Fitzhugh Turns Down NY Jets to be Train Conductor

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

If you asked any man whether he would rather be a professional athlete or a train conductor, 99.99 percent would choose professional athlete without hesitation. Well, we've found the .01 percent.

When that hypothetical question was actually posed to Keith Fitzhugh, he chose to stay on the rails.

The New York Jets have lost two safeties to injuries over the past two games, and have just two left on their roster. So they reached out to Fitzhugh, who had been in training camp the past two pre-seasons -- but cut both times -- he said thanks, but no thanks.

It seems Fitzhugh is now gainfully employed as a conductor for the Norfolk Southern Railroad, a job that helps him support his struggling parents.

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''I've got something now where I know every two weeks I'm getting a paycheck,'' Fitzhugh told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. ''That's what helps out the most right now. I don't knock the Jets at all. I highly appreciate them.''

The 24-year-old Fitzhugh knows people will think he's crazy, but he disagrees.

''You don't hear this too often and some people might think it's not a good idea,'' Fitzhugh said. ''Some people might think it is. I don't know. I just have to look out for what's best for me and my family.''

Fitzhugh's father is disabled and unable to work, while his mother has been struggling to make ends meet.

''To sacrifice what he did for his family is the most unselfish thing I've heard by a player in sports,'' said Daniel Rose, Fitzhugh's agent. ''It's really impressive.''

In addition to being cut twice by the Jets, the Ravens also signed and released Fitzhugh. He's said that's a sign.

''I was released three times. That's a lot,'' he said. ''I just don't want to give up what I have now and say that I'm there for a couple of weeks and then I'm released again. Then, what am I going to do? It's really tough. It's the nature of the business.''

Fitzhugh admits he still has football dreams, but there are other things that are more important.

''I know the Jets have a great opportunity of making the Super Bowl, and that's one dream that every child has is to play sports and make it to the Super Bowl or get to the World Series,'' Fitzhugh said. ''But, there's a time when you have to think, 'Hey, you've only got one Mom and Dad.' They won't be here forever, and while they're here, you've got to cherish that time.''