There were chances to advance his professional football career. Unfortunately, nothing ever materialized for kicker Lirim Hajrullahu.
Following six seasons in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Hajrullahu is finally getting his NFL chance after signing with the Los Angeles Rams last month as a candidate to replace Greg Zuerlein.
“I mean, it’s an awesome journey that I’ve been through here,” Hajrullahu said on a video conference call with reporters earlier last month. “Coming from the CFL to the NFL, there’s usually at least one or two guys every year that make it down to the NFL, so I’m just happy I was able to get this opportunity.”
During his offseasons over the last five to six years, Hajrullahu would attend free agent combines while under contract with his CFL team as long as the team’s general manager granted him permission. Each one Hajrullahu attended, his goal was to see how he stacked up against other NFL-caliber kickers.
Prior to shutdowns prompted by COVID-19, the one he most recently attended was former NFL special teams coordinator and longtime kicking coach Gary Zauner’s from March 8-10. New Rams special teams coordinator John Bonamego and assistant special teams coach Tory Woodbury were both on hand.
“That’s usually the biggest one of the year,” Hajrullahu said of Zauner’s free agent combine. “It’s usually about 100 specialists, and then he narrows it down to about 30-35 kickers on the final day where scouts come.