DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's a real challenge for some football players at North Carolina Central University who consider themselves in great shape.
They got to train like firefighters for the day including running and climbing ladders.
"Hey, I'm tired! I'm tired but look, it's a mindset. Mind over matter! Everything in life that you do, mind over matter," said Twan Flip Jr. who is a return specialist for NCCU.
On this day, the players tackled one test they won't face on the field.
"Our PAT test, Physical Agility Test, so when people come on board, they have to complete this obstacle," said Durham Fire Department Captain Shawn Walls.
He describes the challenge in singular terms, but it's a multi-position and location grind that pushes the Eagle athletes extra hard.
While it's a punishing pace, it also helps the players bond.
They're supporting each other here at levels that could make a critical difference on the gridiron.
Seventy pounds of gear on their back, plus heavy protective coats must be on and ready to go in 90 seconds when the firefighters roll up to battle a blaze.
The team appreciates the opportunity to meet and train with guidance from Durham's Fire Department.
"I got a lot of respect for the men out here, the ladies out here, because it's hard, you know? It's hard. If it was easy, everybody'd be doing it. That's why it's only a select few people out here who actually pass these drills, man!" said Flip Jr.
"Being physically fit is a plus, and a must! A lot of times, I'd say if we have 160 people that apply, this is part of the process that kicks a lot of people out," said the captain.