Joel Hale was hungry enough for a shot to make it in the NFL that he was willing to learn on the fly at a position he hadn’t played since middle school.
It didn’t work out this particular time — Hale was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday — but the Center Grove grad still has hopes that he can realize his NFL dreams.
Hale, who played on the defensive line both at Center Grove and Ohio State, went through the preseason schedule with the Buccaneers as an offensive lineman. Despite his inexperience there, the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder said he thinks it’s his best shot at a pro career.
Hale, 24, said he chose to brand himself as an offensive lineman coming out of school because he “could create a career out of football, not just a short stint.
“In the NFL, as a D-tackle, those guys are freaks at that level, so I just wasn’t at that pace,” he explained. “And I figured I could transfer to be a pretty athletic offensive lineman — and I was. It’s just that I still have a lot to learn.”
Hale went through rookie minicamp with Tampa Bay but left without a contract. He was selling cars at Ray Skillman Southside Buick GMC when the Bucs called back prior to preseason camp.
Despite not making it past the most recent round of cuts, Hale was happy that he got to experience game day as an NFL player. Perhaps most importantly, he now has game film of himself playing on the O-line, which he hopes he can use to convince another team to give him a shot.
“I really don’t know what my next move is,” Hale said. “My phone’s going to be on, I know that.
“We’ll just see what happens.”