RACE AGAINST TIME: European man aims for NFL glory

- It's the dream for almost every single young football player: to make it to the NFL. For Francis Nouvi, however, that dream has become more like a mission.

"I was always the guy that wanted to just achieve his goals," said Nouvi. "My goal was to play in the NFL. That's the reason I came to the States, and particular here in Phoenix, Arizona."

Nouvi, who is from The Netherlands, looks to make America his home, and the Arizona Cardinals his hometown team.

All Nouvi needs, however, is for the Cards, or any NFL team, to give him a shot.

"It's a realistic goal," said Nouvi. "I've been training with one of the top guys in my position, and I saw where I stacked up with these guys. I knew I could dominate at that level, if I'm given a fair chance."

Time, however, is ticking for Nouvi. Nouvi, who is 6' 3" tall and weighs 275 lbs, is also 27 years old. He was once offered a scholarship to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The NCAA, however, got in the way.

"They ruled me ineligible," said Nouvi. "They said that I have exhausted my eligibility. So therefore, I couldn't go to that school, and accept the scholarship."

Nouvi is left with two choices after that: go pro, or go back home. Nouvi chose to continue chasing his NFL dream, and he has a tram of investors that have agreed to sponsor him to train, in Arizona.

"He's pretty comparable to a lot of defensive linemen," said Nate Souza. "His ability to move, as an athlete, is pretty incredible for his size."

Besides Souza, there's Ruben Pallanes, who volunteers his time, and wheels, to take Nouvi to where he needs to be.

"We just kind of hit it off," said Pallanes. "After that, I told him, 'I'm willing to help you out,''"

Pallanes said he is willing to just help Nouvi out, with no expectation for anything in return, whatsoever.

And then, there Kim Miller and her family. She made sure Nouvi had someone and somewhere to spend Christmas with.

"We had him come over to my sister's," said Miller. "We had the whole Miller clan with us for Christmas."

The entire family, Kim said, showed up.

"Poor Francis, I kind of felt sorry for him, being swamped with all of the Millers, and all of our craziness," said Miller. "It was great. It's been really fun getting to know Francis."

Nouvi said the people around him are giving him a helping hand, as well as providing inspiration.

"I've met amazing people that have just helped me out tremendously," said Nouvi. "From Ruben, who's been not just driving me around, but just being, like, a mentor, father figure. So much more. And then, meeting Kim and the Miller Family, inviting me over for Christmas. It's my first Christmas being away from home, so, it was special."

Now, all that's left is for an NFL team to take up Nouvi as a player. He said he can picture himself as a Cardinals team member.

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