Short Film "Waiting: The Story of DJ Morrell" Looks Into The Life Of An NFL Free Agent

"My brother fights for his life every day. The least I can do is fight for mine."

"I would tell anyone who is waiting to live out their dreams to just never give up," DJ Morrell tells A Plus. "I'd tell them that the sky is the limit."

DJ, the subject of Silvermine Productions' latest film, Waiting: The Story of DJ Morrellplayed as an offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills at 23 years old. But when the team hired Rex Ryan as its head coach, DJ was released — just before the 2015 season. 

Now DJ, a free agent living back home with his family, waits for his next big shot to play in the National Football League. 

"People ask, you know, 'Why haven't you moved on? You could be a coach. You have a degree in exercise science. You could train people,' " DJ says in the film. "I just don't think quitting is an option."


In the film, viewers also meet DJ's brother, Brian, who became a quadriplegic following a devastating car accident. But DJ explains that it's his brother's strength that inspires him, crediting his success to Brian's positive attitude.

"He never complains about a thing ... When I go through things that seem tough, I just think of him, and it just really makes me realize that he has it so much worse and that just drills me and sparks me in a way I cannot even describe," DJ tells A Plus. "He is a warrior, and I know that I will never have an excuse in life. He has instilled that mentality into me forever; never quit, never complain, never back down."

"My brother fights for his life every day. The least I can do is fight for mine," DJ says in the film.

Director Alex Morsanutto grew up with DJ and the Morrell family, so this particular story is one that hits close to home. Alex tells A Plus that he wanted to document this time in DJ's life and has been doing so since February of last year. 

When asked what he finds particularly inspiring about DJ, Alex says:

"I've faced my own adversity coming out of film school and looking for work, but DJ has always been that shining example that you need to keep your head down and keep moving. At the end of the day, everyone is waiting for their big shot, but DJ isn't waiting around, he's ready to play at a moment's notice after that phone call."

DJ Morrell (left) and Alex Morsanutto (right).  Photo courtesy of Alex Morsanutto

Alex adds that the film is part of an ongoing digital series of short documentary films titled Waiting, in which professional athletes will have the opportunity to share their stories as they wait to play their sport.

"Whether it be an injury, an off-field issue, or just bad luck, I want to tell stories of athletes like DJ who fight through adversity for another shot at their dream," he says. 

"There'll be times of tribulation, on the field and off the field, but when you get knocked down, get back up, and try again," Alex adds. "I hope people can bring that mentality into their own lives — for their own goals."

You can watch Waiting: The Story of DJ Morrell, in full below:


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