When Luis Perez trotted onto Legion Field in the opening game of the inaugural (and ultimately final) Alliance of American Football season as starting quarterback of the Birmingham Iron, it was just another chapter added to a script akin to something only Hollywood could dream up.
The plot thickened last week as Perez signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The script underwent another redo. That’s the way it’s been from the very beginning because Perez is not your ordinary Joe.
Not by a long shot.
In the annals of the history of sport, and of the human condition, there are untold numbers of examples of these individuals who would rise or have risen above whatever challenges life presented to achieve greatness, fame, fortune, or notoriety. The names and stories of these individuals, although worthy, are too numerous to mention here.
In the case of one Luis Francisco Perez, born August 26, 1994, in San Diego, Cali., it is imperative to emphasize just how unlikely his story is and the manner in which it has played out. Luis Perez never played quarterback in high school. In fact, he didn’t play high school football at all. He arrived at Southwestern College in San Diego as a ninth-string walk-on (the ninth of nine quarterbacks in camp) and by the time his stint in the JUCO ranks was finished, he was the starter.
Not bad for a guy who learned how to play football by watching YouTube videos.
Anyone paying attention? Anybody thinking Kurt Warneresque by now?
YouTube videos, for crying out loud! It just doesn’t get any more Hollywood than that.
The meteoric rise of the affable former bowling sensation (yes, Perez thought he was going to attend college on a bowling scholarship) was starting to take shape. After graduating from Southwestern, Perez signed with the Division II Texas A&M-Commerce Lions, where he would lead his team to the national championship and where he was named winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy, the Division II version of the Heisman.
Where the story plays out after training camp ends with the Eagles is still anyone’s guess, but if that journey culminates with a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster, another amazing chapter would be written in the book of life for Luis Perez, whose story is as unlikely and Hollywood-ready as there ever has been.