Air Force's Chad Hall signs with Philadelphia Eagles
By Staff Sgt. Jason Burton, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 18, 2010
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
From the time he was a child, 2nd Lt. Chad Hall dreamed of becoming a professional athlete.
The assistant officer in charge with the 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit achieved his dream March 11 when he signed to play professional football as a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Well it happened really quick to tell you the truth," Lieutenant Hall said. "This has been a very stressful week for me. But I'm also crazy excited and this has been one of the best weeks of my life."
His selection to play for the Eagles started March 8 when Lieutenant Hall, a 23-year-old Atlanta native, participated in a Pro Day at the University of Utah. During this event, scouts from different National Football League watched the performances of those trying out.
"Overall I thought my workout went very well," the lieutenant said. "What I wanted to do was let everyone know that even though it's been two years since I've played competitively, I stayed in shape and still have that drive to compete."
The Eagles scout liked what he saw in Lieutenant Hall. The scout called him the night of March 8 and talked with him. The Eagles flew Lieutenant Hall to Philadelphia March 10. He had a workout with the Eagles March 11, then met and signed with the team.
While the process of getting signed happened rather swiftly, it was the past two years of sacrifice and dedication that got Lieutenant Hall where he is today.
Lieutenant Hall played football while attending the Air Force Academy. Since he graduated from the academy in 2008, he has had to work extra hard to maintain the physical conditioning of a professional athlete. After a 10-12 hour shift of working on the flight line overseeing the maintenance of 28 F-16s, he would make the 45-minute drive to the University of Utah to use their football training facilities. He did this five or six times a week.
"For me it was pretty much work, train, sleep," he said. "I gave up on my social life a little bit."
His hard work received a lot of notice by those he works with.
"Lieutenant Hall informed me of his goals of joining the NFL the day I met him," said Chief Master Sgt. Carl Juntunen, 421st AMU superintendent, "so when we found out he was selected, I was not surprised."
Chief Juntunen added that Lieutenant Hall's intense training schedule never conflicted with his duties as a maintenance officer.
"His training for football had no impact on his day to day duties. He is a very knowledgeable up-and-coming officer in the Air Force," Chief Juntunen said. "I think his intense workout regime and his work ethic ... make him a great maintenance officer. We are all happy for him, and we hope he does well."
Lieutenant Hall said that none of this would have been possible without the support of his family, friends, senior leaders, co-workers and fellow Airmen.
"All of my co-workers are out on the flight line every day working hard making sure our jets are ready to fly," Lieutenant Hall said.
Although Lieutenant Hall was signed as a wide receiver for the Eagles, he considers himself a very versatile player. While attending the Air Force Academy, he played as receiver, running back, and kick returner. He was even named the Mountain West Conference offensive player of the year in 2007. That year, he was also the only player in the nation to lead his team in yards rushing (1,478), yards receiving (524 with 50 catches) and all-purpose yards (2,683), while scoring 16 touchdowns. He also set the academy record with 275 rushing yards in one game against Army.
"I just love to get the ball in my hands and try to make something happen," he said.
While he has gone this far achieving his dream, Lieutenant Hall still has one last hurdle to clear. He is currently in the process of requesting to go from active duty into the Air Force Reserve.
"I've always wanted to serve," he said. "I think sometimes some people take all the freedoms we have for granted, and I think everyone should serve their country in some way. If the Air Force allows me, I will be able to serve in the Reserve and play in the NFL as well. Those are my two dreams come true."