DAVIE -- These are bittersweet times for Howard Odrick.
In March he was laid off from his advertising sales job after nearly four years at a company in northern New Jersey. He has yet to land new employment as he considers a start-up venture in a prolonged recession.
"I'm one of the statistics," says Odrick, who recently turned 51. "It's odd to be out there applying for jobs, trying to network."
Two weeks later, his wife Lauren was laid off after nearly 20 years in the corporate offices of Tiffany and Co.
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"She took it pretty hard," Howard Odrick says in a phone interview. "She loved what she did."
Late April, thankfully, brought the NFL Draft and the start of Jared Odrick's professional football career. Taken in the first round, 28th overall, the former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year from Penn State isn't just providing hope to Dolphins fans.
The 300-pound defensive end is also a source of daily encouragement to his father and stepmother back in Montclair, N.J.
So are the football exploits of Julian Odrick, Jared's stepbrother, a rising junior at Montclair High School who plays both ways on the line and is receiving Division I recruiting interest.
"Everybody shares the same stories about looking for work and what's going on in the economy," Howard Odrick says. "These things have really kept us optimistic and kept our minds off things."
It's not so much the money, although Jared did sign a five-year, $13 million contract last week that includes $7.1 million in guaranteed pay.
"There's no expectation whatsoever of our son," the elder Odrick says.
Of greater significance is the pride the family feels watching Howard's eldest son chase his NFL dream.