While Melvin was a receiver with the Dallas Cowboys in the spring of 1987, he was also taking courses at the University of Virginia that would help him in his second career: astronaut.
“They videotaped the courses and mailed them to me in Dallas,” Melvin said during a recent interview with NPR. “So by day, I’m catching balls for America’s team and at night, I’m watching materials science and engineering courses in a master’s program.”
Melvin didn’t make the Cowboys’ final roster because a hamstring injury, the same injury that led to his release from the Detroit Lions in training camp the previous season. Melvin was the Lions’ 11th-round draft pick out Richmond in 1986.
Fortunately, being an astronaut doesn’t put as much strain on a hamstring. After leaving football, he began working at NASA and was selected as an astronaut in 1998.