Once Homeless Receiver Seeks NFL Dreams With Dolphins

Miami tryout is Disney movie in-the-waiting

Undrafted wide receiver Brennan Marion, who was once a homeless college student sleeping in locker rooms, is trying to make his NFL dreams come true and earn a spot on the Dolphins roster.

Marion is at this weekend's rookie mini-camp and the 21-year-old, who spent months sleeping in everything but a bed while at De Anza Junior College near San Francisco, is ready for the big show.

"There were nights I slept on the bathroom floor, the locker room, the bus or the press box. We had a key," Marion told the Sun-Sentinel. "All this just to make my goals and dream come true and now because I didn't get drafted it feels like I did it for no reason. But I'm going to make it work."
Marion, who along with teammate Chuck Thompson was evicted from their apartment, said he used his arms or paper towels as pillows during the three-month homeless stint his sophomore season. He said he and Thompson lived on "Gatorade, electrolyte pills and the guy at 7-11 would give us free bags of chips and cookies."

Marion bounced around a few colleges, ultimately ending up at Tulsa. But it was the time spent at De Anza that pushes him on.

Marion's offensive coordinator at De Anza, Darrell Williams, found out about his student athletes' living conditions and allowed the boys to stay with him.

"I was appalled and couldn't believe it," Williams said. "I never charged them a dime, but the only thing I asked is that they earn their degree and help someone else out when they get the opportunity."

Marion soon switched to Tulsa, where he excelled, putting together consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and averaging 31.9 yards per catch in 2007, breaking a 40-year-old NCAA record.

An ACL tear in his final game killed his dreams of being drafted into the NFL, but Marion didn't give up.

"Three months after his ACL surgery he went out and ran a 4.52," Tulsa coach Todd Graham told the Sun-Sentinel. "It shows you his great passion and work ethic. Not getting drafted and having to go as a free agent is just another bump in the road for him."

Coach Graham thinks Marion will be a fan favorite in Miami.

"Miami is getting a young man who has great character, great explosive speed off the ball and will entertain and wow them on the field," Graham said.

The 5' 11", 190-pound player may have a slightly smaller build than most pro receivers, but his heart is as big as any.

"If the Dolphins give me a chance and I'm 100 percent healthy, I guarantee I'll be a big-time playmaker for them," Marion said.

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