Brigham Young lineman Eli Herring would love to play professional football - but never on a Sunday.
An offensive tackle, the 6-foot-8, 335-pounder is considered a likely first- or second-round NFL draft pick. Instead, he has written to each of the league’s teams to withdraw himself from consideration.
For the devout Mormon, it all comes down to the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” To Herring, that means no working - or playing football - on Sunday.
“It was a tough decision,” he said Tuesday from his small, on-campus student apartment in Provo. “I’ve thought about playing pro football since I was a kid. But NFL games are on Sunday, and as I was growing up, my family always recognized Sunday as the Sabbath. For me, personally, it just wouldn’t be right.”
Instead, while quarterback John Walsh and other of his teammates bid for an NFL career, Herring will stay at BYU, graduate in 1996, become a high school math teacher and, perhaps, a football and track coach.
Herring knows not all Mormon athletes view their scriptural responsibilities the same way he does.
“When I was making my decision everyone brought up Steve Young as being an LDS guy who has been a good influence for the church through the fame he’s received in the NFL,” Herring recalled. “He has been a good example for the church, but for me, (playing on Sunday) isn’t an option.”