But because he had quit the team, no colleges offered him an athletic scholarship. So, Solomon went to North Florida Junior College and played two years on an intramural flag-football team called the Funk Buddies. "We cleaned up," he says. "We won the school championship twice."
As a junior, Solomon was a walk-on at Florida State. But he failed to win a scholarship, started only one game—as a junior—and was a backup his senior season. "I could have been first team, but I refused to go through the off-season weight program," says Solomon, who graduated with a degree in political science and a coaching certificate. "I kept striving. I wanted to know about the world outside my home. How did people acquire money?"
A couple of weeks after the draft, Solomon walked into the office of Mike Lynn, the Vikings' general manager, unannounced.
"You doing my contract?" Solomon asked. Lynn explained that Jeff Diamond, Lynn's assistant, handled contracts of low-round draft picks.
"Well, you should," Solomon said. "Because I'm going to make your team."
"Who are you?" Lynn said.
Mark Clayton, the Dolphins All-Pro receiver, was having trouble seeing the ball in training camp. "I could see it being released from Dan Marino's hands but when it got close—5 or 10 yards from me—I couldn't see it clearly," Clayton remembers. "I was dropping a lot of easy balls."
So Clayton had his eyes checked and found he was nearsighted. Now he wears contacts under his protective goggles. Through five games, he had caught 24 passes for 497 yards and 4 touchdowns, and his 20.7 yards-per-catch average was second in the NFL. "Last year, I'd have tremendous headaches after games. My eyes were extremely tired," Clayton says. "I had been straining them and I didn't know it. I couldn't even judge the ball's speed."
In the first four years of his life, Chiefs rookie punter Lewis Colbert went through four operations and had to wear five-pound casts and braces on both of his legs—all to correct his clubfeet. Doctors said he would never walk normally. But Frances Colbert, his mother, widowed when Lewis was four, encouraged her son to take up sports—mostly baseball—to give him a feeling of freedom. His doctors, however, forbade him to play football. "They felt that if I broke my leg, it wouldn't heal correctly," Colbert says.
As a sophomore and junior, Colbert was the manager of the football team at Glenwood Academy in Phenix City, Ala. "I'd hang out on the sidelines during practice and punt footballs," he says. The summer before his senior year Colbert couldn't stand it anymore. He tried out for—and made—the team as the punter, using his right foot.