Chad Faulcon has dreamed of playing
professional football ever since the day he first strapped on shoulder pads in
fourth grade for the peewee Cranford Cougars.
It was a dream that carried the powerful defensive
back through high school, his four years as a Red Hawk and all the way to the
day in April when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons
and woke up at training camp. “It was surreal. I was watching these guys on TV
last year and they were on my fantasy team, and then, all of a sudden, I’m playing
with them,” says Faulcon, recalling the experience of training with Atlanta before
being waived in July.
Despite his talent, Faulcon’s path to playing
professionally is not obvious or certain, and the senior star safety figured his
football career was over at the end of the 2011 season when the Red Hawks lost
to Kean in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship game. “I hadn’t
heard from the NFL, but my coaches came to me and told me they thought I should
still try to play professional football,” he says. “I was skeptical at first,
but it was still my dream, so I talked with an agent and they got me a lot of
Invited to the Players All-Star Classic in Little
Rock, Arkansas, he got a chance to play against Division I players in front of
NFL scouts. “Teams wanted to see that I could play against Division I talent and
I proved that I could,” he says of the game where he had seven tackles and an interception.
Faulcon caught the NFL’s attention, and his name made Falcons fans happy too,
as evidenced on a website for Falcons fans.
It was huge honor to sign with the Falcons, he
says, even if he only made it midway through the summer. He maintains a positive
attitude about getting waived, focusing on the experience instead.
“They had a couple of injuries and had to
make sure they kept players in those positions,” he says. “I was glad that the coaches
said they liked what I was doing.” Faulcon took part in the Falcons’ minicamp in
May and the Falcons’ organized team activities in June, before heading to Atlanta’s
training camp in July.
Playing however briefly with the Falcons topped
off a standout year for Faulcon, named the Defensive Player of the Year for the
NJAC and D3Football.com for the East Region and chosen to the D3Football.com All-America
In 2011, Faulcon registered 72 tackles and
three interceptions for the Red Hawks, helping Montclair State to an 8-2
overall season. He also helped Montclair State to back-to-back NJAC
championships and NCAA Division III playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010.
Faulcon is keeping his options open, hoping
another NFL team will need an additional safety due to roster changes or
injuries, and he’s also talking with the Canadian Football League and looking
to play in Calgary. Football is football, he says, and it's what he wants to
do. In either case, he says he will return to Montclair State in order to do
his fieldwork for a teaching degree in physical education.
“I will try to go back and finish in the spring and summer,” he says.