Is It Enough?
After having an All-American season as a Sophomore, followed up by a subpar Junior season, my Senior season was enough to get me looked at by multiple NFL teams.
Right Place/Right Time
Following the conclusion of my Senior season, I was blessed to be named Big West Scholar Athlete of the Year, an award handed out at a banquet in Anaheim during the Conference’s basketball tournament. Big problem…Utah State Football Pro Day was the exact same time. It was a tough decision to pass on the banquet, but my dad was there to accept the honor.
Pro Day – 1st Job Interview
March 8th 2001 – There were several coaches in attendance at Utah State’s Indoor Facility. After we were measured (5’6”7/8, 187lbs), did our bench max (225 x 16) and ran our 40s (4.61, 4.71) a few of the scouts stuck around to watch me kick.
I had practiced and prepared 9 years for this opportunity.
The workout was 10 FG’s of varying lengths (30-55). I connected on 9-10 (both 55 yarders).
Next up, Kickoff session. 3 Kickoffs…. All around 69-73 yards with 4.1+ hang time.
It must have been enough for them to know if I was NFL Caliber.
At the conclusion of the session, the Detroit Lions scout told me they were going to sign me on draft day. However, for the next two month, I heard nothing from them or any other team. This left me with a sense of uncertainty.
Woke up around 6:30 A.M. to shower hoping I not to miss calls from Special Teams Coordinators. After getting out of the shower, there was a message from the Cincinnati Bengals saying they wanted to sign me as a Free Agent. I called back… No Answer! Fortunately I had an agent for these types of situations. The draft hadn’t started, but we were off to a good start.
Phone is Ringing
Sometime in the middle of the 6th round the Detroit Lions finally called. Basically said, “You aren’t getting drafted today, we are going to sign you as a Free Agent; we are offering you X amount as a signing bonus and are faxing the contract over right now.” I spoke with my agent, who told me it was a better offer than the Bengals and that Coach Priefer (Sp. Teams Co.) was a stand-up guy that will keep his word about letting me get field action.
To my surprise, the process was basically over before the draft was. I waited till the end of the draft, signed the contract, faxed it back and headed to the golf course with my buddies. There was a definite sense of relief, accomplishment and anticipation the rest of the night. I had heard about players being signed as Free Agents and being released before they even made it up to camp, so I still had some anxiety.
I was very fortunate to get a scholarship to play at Utah State. A lot of hard work went into developing my technique and ability. With the support of family, coaches and teammates, I had an opportunity to turn a dream into reality.