Diego London had the look, and the feel, of a man given a reprieve yesterday.
Released last Thursday by Baltimore's Canadian Football League team, the 6-foot-4, 328-pound offensive guard agreed to join the club's practice roster Sunday.
Yesterday, the team gave him a starting job for Thursday night's CFL opener against the Toronto Argonauts at SkyDome.
In the three days he was away, London had no trouble finding work.
"I was doing all types of manual labor at my parents' house [in Upper Marlboro], fixing stuff, landscaping," he said. "I was about to start working construction [today]."
He also had the option of entering the police academy in the fall.
And ultimately, he wants to write screenplays, which was one of his two majors at Miami.
London, 24, will happily put all that aside to pursue his first love. He got back in the football business when O'Neill Glenn's strained Achilles' tendon was slow to respond and the team faced a shortage at guard for the opener.
Tackle Karl Nieberlein of Towson State was another option, but until this week worked only sparingly at guard. Both he and Glenn, of Maryland, will remain on the practice roster for now.
Coach Don Matthews said London "was closer to being ready" to play than Glenn, who took limited reps in yesterday's practice.
London started on the left side in the team's second preseason game last week. Keith Ballard moves back to the right side.
London worked exclusively at left guard yesterday, and said he was told by offensive coordinator Steve Buratto he would start.
"Coach Buratto told me when I was released that it wasn't for the fact I couldn't do the job," London said. "They did what they thought they had to do. I had the feeling I'd be back with somebody."
London will try to capitalize on his second chance.
"My goal this game is to go 100 percent every play," he said. "I want to dominate every play and be perfect.
"I appreciate it more now. Somebody said something about going full pads in today's heat, and I thought to myself, 'I'm glad I'm doing this. This is what I want to be doing.' "