The dream hasn’t changed.
It still may be on hold, but Nick Reveiz continues to wait patiently.
There may be other options for the former Tennessee linebacker than sitting through an NFL lockout with no guarantees when it will end and allow him to sign a free-agent deal. Reveiz could pursue the United Football League like two of his former teammates already have, or he could perhaps look into the Canadian Football League for another way to get a professional career off the ground.
But simply getting paid to play wasn’t the goal for Reveiz after wrapping up his career with the Vols. And he’s not going to alter it just because of a labor situation he can’t control and has virtually no way of monitoring aside from media coverage.
“The NFL has always been my goal, ever since I was 6 or 7 years old,” Reveiz said while lending a hand at Eric Berry’s football camp last month at D1 Sports. “This has been my dream, and I’m going to wait it out as long as it needs to be waited out.
“Basically I know as much as you all do. We just keep an eye on ESPN and find out if something is breaking or there’s good news coming our way. From what it looks like, they’re on pace to make progress and make a breakthrough mid-July, but that’s uncertainty and it’s not going to happen until it happens.”
There have been some encouraging signs of progress lately, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and executive director of the player’s association DeMaurice Smith rejoined negotiations to try to end the lockout on Thursday in Minneapolis.
But until a deal is reached, nobody is doing business — and players who went undrafted in April can’t sign a contract or even communicate with franchises that might offer one when the doors are opened again.
That has led some to explore other avenues in the meantime, which defensive end Chris Walker and offensive lineman Jarrod Shaw both did by inking deals with the Hartford Colonials in the UFL. It also puts pressure on players like Reveiz who elect to wait to keep themselves in shape on his own, though that has never really been a problem for the self-motivated, former UT walk-on.
One unexpected benefit of the summer away from football has been the opportunity to participate in more community service projects after he finishes up his workouts, including the appearance with Berry last month that had him offering his expertise to kids up close and personal.
“That’s something I feel I owe to Knoxville, and it’s something I’m very happy to do,” Reveiz said. “The (future uncertainty) is tough, though. I don’t have a team to train with like I have for the last four or five years, so it’s just something I’ve had to keep myself accountable and try to stay in shape.
“I’ve been waiting to see what the next step is, and it’s really tough because I’m training without a certain date. I’m a guy that has always had specific dates to train for and, ‘Hey, I’ve got this much time.’ I don’t know how much time I’ve got; it’s uncertain.”
There’s also not a definite position for Reveiz at the next level, though that’s by design and has helped make him an attractive option for teams when a collective bargaining agreement is finalized.
In addition to his skills at linebacker and willingness to play on special teams, Reveiz worked out some at fullback this spring to give scouts another idea of how versatile and valuable he could be at the next level. And on the flip side, Reveiz and his inner circle have been doing homework on the teams that might suit him best as well.
“We’ve looked at what are good situations for me, because as soon as the lockout ends, free agency opens,” Reveiz said. “For me, I’m hoping to get a shot and we’ve talked to certain teams that we think are going to give me a shot as a free agent, so we’ve looked at the roster, depth chart, where can I make an impact, where is the best chance for me.
“That’s something we’ve looked at, and we’re prepared to make that decision once the lockout ends.”
Nobody knows for sure when that might be, but Reveiz isn’t going to abandon his dream just because of the delay.
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.