NFL: Rookies have to wait

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2011

Associated Press
The NFL Draft notebook …
NEW YORK ó There wasn’t much time to celebrate during Christian Ponder’s first day as a Minnesota Viking.
The Florida State quarterback, drafted 12th overall to take over for the departed Brett Favre, knew time was of the essence when he arrived at team headquarters on Friday, and he spent all day meeting with coaches and going over Xs and Os while the lockout was temporarily lifted.
“We don’t know how long this window will be open so we have to take advantage of every moment and try to get him the information that we think he’ll need to come back, whenever that is, with a working knowledge of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after introducing Ponder.
Ponder’s cram session wasn’t unique. Rookies across the league scrambled to get in, meet coaches and pick up playbooks before the doors were shut again.
“I’m ready as soon as this lockout is over,” Chicago Bears first-round pick Gabe Carimi said. “I can’t wait to come and start playing. I’m sure everyone feels that way too.”
MR. IRRELEVANT
HOUSTON ó A few of the Houston Texans worked out at nearby Rice Stadium as they awaited developments in the NFL’s labor impasse.
Whenever training camp begins, one of the Owls will join them on their regular practice field.
Rice defensive end Cheta Ozougwu is this year’s Mr. Irrelevant after the Texans took him with the 254th and final pick of the NFL draft Saturday. The “irrelevant” moniker is traditionally given to the last pick.
“It’s a big relief,” Ozougwu said. ěto have this opportunity.
Since 1976, the player and his family have been invited to southern California in the offseason to take in “Irrelevant Week,” which includes a golf tournament, regatta and a ceremony where he is awarded a trophy depicting a player fumbling a ball.
“I don’t know too much about it,” Ozougwu said. “It’s funny, one of my teammates, about two weeks ago was like, ‘Hey man, if you get drafted in the seventh round, like the last pick, you get called something like ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ or things of that nature, and all these things they do.’
“I had no idea it’d be me,” he said, “but I’m definitely thankful for it.”

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