Keith Fitzhugh turned down an offer by the New York Jets to support his family.
After being cut by the Jets for a third time in two years, Fitzhugh found steady work as a railroad conductor.
This week, the Jets made an offer to the free agent safety to join the team as they make a run toward the playoffs and possibly, the Super Bowl. But he turned them down.
“I’ve got something now where I know every two weeks I’m getting a paycheck,” Fitzhugh said. “That’s what helps out the most right now. I don’t knock the Jets at all. I highly appreciate them.”
Fitzhugh is helping his parents by working at Northern Southern Railroad outside of Atlanta. His father is disabled and unable to work while his mother has had a hard time making ends meet.
“I know I haven’t won a Super Bowl; it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Fitzhugh said. “But you only get one mom and one dad. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’d rather be there for my mom and dad.”
This story just breaks my heart. Here Fitzhugh has a wonderful opportunity to really make it – the third time could have been the charm. But the loyal and respectful son that he is, he chose his secure paycheck in order to help his parents.
But did Fitzhugh make the biggest mistake of his career?
With injuries to Jim Leonhard and James Ihedigbo, the 7-3 Jets needed help at safety and gave Fitzhugh a call. But rather than risking getting cut yet again, and being out of work, he decided to stay near his parents and continue to provide them with a steady paycheck.
“It’s tough because I would love to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go out there and get it again,’ but it’s about a risk,” he said. “Is it the end of my NFL career forever? I don’t know. This is what I need to do right now.”
It’s sad because Fitzhugh represents many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and helping their families.
Did Fitzhugh make a terrible mistake?