December 9, 2010, - 2:26 pm

VIDEO: Man Gives Up NFL Job to Care For Parents

By Debbie Schlussel

It’s not “The Gift of the Magi.”  But still a pretty touching story about sacrificing what you really treasure to save those you really love.

Would you give up a possible dream job in the NFL to care for your parents?  Keith Fitzhugh did that, saying no to the New York Jets.  It’s not like he was certain to get a multi-million dollar–or even multi-hundred-thousand dollar–contract.  And that’s part of the reason he said no.  Fitzhugh’s father is completely disabled and unable to work or leave the house.  His mother lost her job and remains unemployed.  They depend on their son and his income to survive, and he currently has a steady, reliable job as a train conductor with Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Fitzhugh was on the practice squad and was cut.  The New York Jets, this week, asked him back, and he turned them down because his chances to make the Jets were uncertain.  Though players are often signed to the team from the practice squad, it’s no certainty.  And even if he made the team, there are never guarantees for next year. It’s a big risk compared to a steady, assured income stream from the railroad job.

I give kudos to Fitzhugh for caring about his parents enough to put them above himself and risky ambitions. Most people–Black or White–would not, especially most post-collegiate football players, who’ve been pampered, spoiled, and selfish most of their lives and dream solely of playing on the NFL field and making an NFL salary. Keith Fitzhhugh is a man of character and a great role model for America’s kids.

He did the right thing, and made a tough decision most in his place would not make. When I represented pro athletes as a sports agent, I met many recent college grads in Fitzhugh’s position. They were all selfish. And not one would make the decision–the correct decision–he made.

They’d all go with the NFL invite. And probably all be out on the streets with their parents in the end.

This is the kind of guy we should be promoting to America’s youth, especially in the inner city. He’s head and shoulders above anyone playing on NFL Sunday.

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12 Responses


Family comes first. That should always be America’s first and most critical lesson. We’re nothing without it.

Keith Fitzhugh has shown us all in this holiday season what really matters in life.

NormanF on December 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm

God bless this nice, good man & his family, & you, Debbie. Happy holidays to all.

Moishe on December 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm

What a great story. God bless this man and his Mum and Dad. I wish him all the best and I am so happy to read about a man of character and values.

He ought to have a reality show…not the scummy creeps who have them and the Kardaskankians!

Skunky on December 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm


    T. Y. on December 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Thank you for reporting this story, Debbie. I also agree with all the comments posted here as of this writing.

JeffE on December 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

The parents of Keith Fitzhugh are reaping what they have sowed. There is yet a remnant of decent people in this great nation and they desperately need to be highlighted if for no other reason than to be a beacon of righteousness in a dark world.

T. Y. on December 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Kudos to Keith for being grounded on what is really important in life-family..

Brian Cuban on December 9, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Keith Fitzhugh is a role model, consider NFL players today. Plus, if there was a lockout…

Rocky Lore on December 10, 2010 at 3:06 am

“he currently has a steady, reliable job as a train conductor with Norfolk Southern Railroad.”

That’s a good job with a lot of responsibility. The pay and benefits are excellent. As you know: “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” I think he would have been a fool to go to the NFL. Now… if he turned down a job to be the locomotive engineer, I’d say he was CRAZY.

There is NO Santa Claus on December 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

What a mensch!

Sadie on December 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

Fitzhugh is a good man. The USA needs a lot more like him.

Truth on December 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

Thank you so much!

google on January 4, 2019 at 1:56 am

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