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NFL hopeful to re-enlist in Marines after Boston attack

Brandon O'Brien was the longest of long-shot NFL hopefuls this draft season. After serving four years in the Marines, O'Brien lit up the Frontier Conference at Montana State Northern University, but he was a 30-year-old wide receiver without a top pedigree.

Still, O'Brien was training with Athletes Performance Institute and put together some solid times. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound receiver ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash and 4.08 in the short shuttle. His agent was working hard to get him an opportunity in front of NFL teams, and I was planning to write about Brandon's story this week. And then the bombings in Boston happened Monday.

O'Brien's agent contacted NFL.com's Andy Fenelon on Tuesday morning to tell him that Brandon had a change of heart. O'Brien is re-enlisting with the Marines.

"He said watching what happened yesterday left him with a big hole in his heart and told me he wants to ensure that this never happens again to anybody, anywhere. The kid is a real hero," O'Brien's agent, Brad Berkowitz, said.

This is less a story about football and more about the sacrifice that so many men and women make. And it gives us a chance to say thank you.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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