Two months ago, Derek Chard was in the business of providing a safe and secure future for his clients as a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch. Now, Chard’s personal future is up in the air as he tries to make the Jets roster as a long snapper — and he’s OK with the uncertainty of it all.
In mid-April, the call came to Chard that the Jets wanted him to report for rookie minicamp and compete at long snapper with Tanner Purdum. Last summer, the UConn product had signed an undrafted rookie free agent deal with the Steelers, but it didn’t work out so he returned to his native Connecticut to begin at Merrill Lynch.
“I began there last September after things didn’t work out in Pittsburgh and worked pretty much up through April when I got a call from the Jets,” Chard told Metro New York. “When I got that call, it was never a question of what I would do; I was going to come down here and give it another try.”
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He had a good track record with the Huskies as their starting long snapper for three years including a 2010 season when UConn converted all 38 of their extra point attempts. Even while working for Merrill Lynch, he continued to pursue his football dreams.
“I did my workouts and training four or five times a week as much as I could. As a long snapper, my workouts are different than other players, but I kept up with them,” Chard said. “It helped that I had a flexible schedule as well.”
On a daily basis, Chard kept in contact with clients. He said he always seemed to be on the phone, even taking client calls in the middle of his workouts. Most of the people he provided advice to were the high-end variety, with investable assets of $250,000 or more.
He holds his Series 7 and Series 66 licenses and had security as a financial advisor. But he still dreamed of the NFL.
“I took the job with them fully knowing that this was a possibility. I couldn’t even give two weeks’ notice,” Chard said. “But they were very understanding and they knew this was my dream. I’m glad I did it. Nothing is guaranteed here, but I’m loving every moment about being here with the Jets.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer as minicamp gets underway this week. He'll provide live photos, quotes and insight everyday.