Cashing in: Rams QB Wolford to make high-profile NFL debut

FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 file photo, Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Wolford (9) gestures during an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos in Los Angeles. Wolford will make his NFL debut for the Rams on Sunday,  Jan. 3, 2021 against Arizona after nearly two full seasons as a backup in which he never took a snap. Wolford says he is confident in his ability to succeed with no experience. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 file photo, Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Wolford (9) gestures during an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos in Los Angeles. Wolford will make his NFL debut for the Rams on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 against Arizona after nearly two full seasons as a backup in which he never took a snap. Wolford says he is confident in his ability to succeed with no experience. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Although John Wolford always believed he could be an NFL quarterback, he hadn't done much in his first three seasons at Wake Forest to persuade anybody else.

So he worked at an investment firm during the summer and lined up a job in finance after he graduated.

Wolford then had an outstanding senior season for the Demon Deacons, but didn't get drafted. He was three days away from starting his banking career when the New York Jets offered an audition.

He put his Wall Street plans on hold and started down another career path that has led him into the Rams' backfield this Sunday, when he'll try to lead Los Angeles (9-6) to the playoffs in his NFL debut.

“You can only go play football once,” Wolford said Wednesday. “I can go back and work a desk job later on in life. I told myself, 'I'm going to give it a year. I'm going to give it everything I've got.' And it's all worked out.”

Wolford is obviously good with numbers and risk assessment, and he actually sees a strong probability of a 6-foot-1 quarterback succeeding under these daunting circumstances. That's because he knows the full scope of his investment in himself, and he's determined to make it pay off.

“It's been a fun journey getting to this point,” Wolford said. “It's a lot of hard work, and I'm confident in the time I've spent that has gotten me here. I'm confident in my capabilities as a player. I know I can spin it. I know how to make the throws, and then mentally it's about making the right decisions."

Wolford has been on the Rams' roster for the last 31 games, but he will take his first NFL snaps at SoFi Stadium on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (8-7). Los Angeles (9-6) needs a win or a loss by Chicago to reach the postseason, but the Rams will have to do it without Jared Goff.