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A surname definitely linked to sport: first, the father, Evander, and now his son, Elijah, who has just signed with the Carolina Panthers
In order to help Christian McCaffrey in runner work, the Carolina Panthers risked signing an untrained free agent: Elijah Holyfield. Holyfield? Yes, he is Evander's family, his father, that boxer who once had the best punch in the professional field of this sport. Now, his son wants to follow his legacy, but not in the ring, but in the NFL.
Leer en español: Holyfield: del ring de boxeo a los emparrillados de la NFL
Thus, the son of the four-time heavyweight champion and native of Georgia accepted the terms with Carolina after not being taken into account by any team in last weekend's draft. Ian Rapport, NFL insider, was the one who reported the signing. It was not what was expected, as his father Evander had pointed out in the past February Super Bowl that he hoped his son would have the opportunity to play for the Atlanta Falcons, as it is his hometown. For now, Elijah must settle for facing the Falcons twice a year.
In 2014, Elijah already showed his personality by declaring: "I feel I have to do even more than the others because people say that any care I receive will be by my last name", and they are not mistaken. Today he must "run against the tide" not only to honor the legacy of his father, but create his own, as explained by El Universal.
A draft to forget
ESPN reported that the chances for Holyfield to be selected in the recently celebrated draft into the 2019 season diminished a bit after Holyfield's posting on social networks about his time at 40 yards: 4.78 seconds, a figure that is not attractive at all.
Although he was hired as a runner, Elijah is considered talented more for being skillful than being fast, the boy of 5 feet 10 inches and 215 pounds, but he still was chosen to complement McCaffrey, even ahead of the fifth Carolina election in the last draft, Jordan Scarlett, from Florida.
McCaffrey played 91.3 % of the plays and set an NFL record for a runner, with 107 catches in 2018, which has shown throughout his career to be a very versatile and useful player. For the management team, Holyfield is a similar player. It could be defined as a 'SUV', because, in his last year in the NCAA, he ran 1,018 yards, plus 40 catches for 164 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 159 carries doing a pair with D'Andre Swift, along with a game of 115 yards against Kentucky, ESPN said.
Those numbers helped Elijah to be considered, but of course he must restore confidence to the Panthers or, otherwise, he will lose the position as a substitute for McCaffrey to the mentioned Scarlett, as well as to Cameron Artis-Payne and Reggie Bonnafon. Holyfield coincidentally arrives at the Carolina team along with another Georgia native soccer player, receiver Terry Godwin, who did not hesitate to praise the hiring of Holyfield.
Yes, as Marca Claro points out , Elijah had to accept the conditions of the team that, despite not choosing him in the draft, looked for him as a runner to accompany his running back star Christian McCaffrey for the upcoming campaign, 2019 edition -2020 and number 100 in the history of the National Football League (NFL).
Holyfield, 20, signed as a free agent, despite the time with which he had lost so many possibilities in the draft, since his 4.78 time with that distance is easy for most running backs to beat in less time. The son of the famous boxer said "I will be the guy who will work hardest if I am elected. I think I can help change the culture and add hardness to a team," he added in the hours before the draft, according to ABC.
He did it despite not being a prospect
It was difficult to be taken into account. Why? Because Holyfield was placed as the second slowest runner of the 23 who participated in a session in the NFL Scouting Combine 2019.
The former player of the Georgia Bulldogs of the NCAA recorded the aforementioned time of 4.78 seconds on his first attempt and worsened to 4.81 seconds in the second. These numbers were not enough for the NFL scouts to classify him as eligible for 40 yards.
The criticism did not wait as well reported El Universal, that said that Matt Miller, an analyst at Bleacher Report, said on his Twitter account: "I think his father hit some guys faster than he ran 40 yards". So much so that not even on Day 2 of the draft Elijah was taken into account.
However, in the end, he got it and will be in the NFL. Now what is missing is that Holyfield must show that he can deal with the pressure and weight that comes with being the son of a sports stars, before which he has already stated that he is used to coexisting with the expectation demanded by his surname.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Holyfield: del ring de boxeo a los emparrillados de la NFL"