That was not the case for New York Giants running back David Wilson, the team's 2012 first-round draft pick who, on Monday morning was given the unfortunate news by his doctors that it's in his best interest to cease playing football because of diffuse cervical stenosis.
As a result, he was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Wilson, who last week in practice suffered a burner which set the wheels in motion for a checkup with team physician Dr. Russell Warren and with Hospital for Special Surgery spinal surgeon Dr. Frank Cammisa Jr., who performed a spinal fusion procedure on Wilson in January, has been nothing but upbeat since getting the news.
"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me," Wilson said in a statement released by the team. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."
Wilson noted that he braced himself for the bad news, though a small part of him hoped that he'd be wrong.
"I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football," said Wilson. "I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning when I saw Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Warren, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected that what they told me could be a possibility.
"I prayed this morning before I went to see them that they would tell me what God would tell me. He put His answer in them to relay to me."
Head coach Tom Coughlin, who said he told Wilson that he would always be welcomed at the facility, lauded the 23-year-old for his maturity and his handling of what some might consider to be a deflating situation.
"The whole idea for David is that he fulfilled his dream," said Coughlin, who added that he told Wilson to keep in touch regarding his plans moving forward.
"Even though his career was cut short, he remains positive and believes God has a plan. He has accepted this in such a way that is a great example for all of us. There is no self-pity. David is a strong person and extremely optimistic. He will meet his next challenge in life with the same enthusiasm he approached football."
From the moment Wilson had his surgery in January, they began making contingency plans. New York signed unrestricted free agent Rashad Jennings from the Raiders.
They also used a fourth-round draft pick to Boston College star Andre Williams, who last year became only the 16th player in college history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season (2,117); and re-signed Peyton Hillis, who did well for them last year when injuries struck down Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs.
Coughlin, however, disputed that concept, saying that every year, they bring in a certain number of players at every position to help fill out the snap distribution at training camp.
"If you look at the preseason roster, there's a lot of years where we've had six runners and one fullback, for example," he said. "The preparation, the numbers are training camp numbers. That's just the way it is."
Still, he admitted that the possibility of Wilson not being able to make it to opening day always loomed in the back of his mind.
"Certainly it's on your mind. You have to put yourself in a position whereby if it doesn't work the way you want it to work, you have some answers.
"I don't like speculation, but you always have the numbers you need or your camp even though you're trying as best you can and hoping and praying that someone who's been injured comes back and plays at a high level."
While the Giants will look to move on without the effervescent Wilson -- Coughlin told reporters that the team has enough players at the position to make it through the rest of training camp -- Wilson's latest Instagram post on his brief NFL career sounded like a man who was at peace with his circumstances:
"At age 8 I told my #Dad I wanted to play football in THE NFL at this point in my life I have done that. Even Blessed to be drafted in the 1st round. Broke and set RECORDS, scored Touchdowns, and all that follows. It's a great feeling to live out dream. Unfortunately that has been paused but I am blessed that I am able to walk away from this game healthy and still able to be me with no restrictions pain or struggle and So all I ask is please don't be sorry or pity ME that's just one chapter life goes on and I'm glad I can live it. Once a Giant always a #Giant #pocketrocket"