`Twas the Night Before The Draft
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April 27, 2007
By Brian Jones
Special to CSTV.com
Brian Jones is a football analyst for CSTV and CSTV.com.
On this NFL Draft-eve, I cannot help but reminisce about the excruciating hours I endured before being taken in the eighth round of the 1991 draft. I was the leading tackler for the Texas Longhorns for the past two years on a team that was ranked as high as third in the nation, all that leading up to a disastrous Cotton Bowl in which my side lost to Miami by something like 46-3. I've tried to forget the score.
Although I had a terrible performance at the NFL combine, I was sure that what I had accomplished enough on the field to endear me to the NFL suitors. NFL guru Mel Kiper Jr. had me ranked as the No. 2 middle linebacker in the draft, but being ranked No. 2 doesn't mean a damn thing.
To compound my problems, I proceeded to pull a hamstring during our Pro Day while attempting to run 40 yards in unseasonably freezing spring weather in
I decided to go to my hometown in
My agent, Carl Poston, felt confident that I would not stay on the board past the third round. But we were horribly mistaken; our assessments of the draft were totally off.
I had an inclination that things would not be going my way on Draft day and made a visit to church that Sunday to inject some spiritual intervention into the process. The Lord usually shows up and shows out, but I guess it wasn't meant to be that Sunday. To make a painful story short, I was drafted in the eighth round by the Los Angeles Raiders. You know what that means - I wasn't taken until the second day.
You can't imagine the anxiety I experienced that day and night. I had no clue what my future held, I had yet to graduate and up to that point had paid no attention to "Plan B." So it goes without saying that I had a difficult time sleeping that night and was not at all concerned with, or looking forward, to the second day of the Draft. In my mind, my career was over and out.
The next day, I decided not to sit by the phone as I had done the day before. Instead, I proceeded to get drunk with my childhood buddies. All I can recall from that day is that for hours, my family attempted to reach me to inform me that the Raiders had decided to draft me in the eighth round. I can't tell you how wide the grin was on my inebriated face when I finally talked to then-head coach Art Shell. I'm grinning like a Cheshire cat as I think back on that moment.
This is a great moment in the lives of the young draft-hopefuls and their families. I hope that they enjoy it for what it is, an opportunity to continue their career in a great sport that allows you to knock someone out and not be arrested.
At the same time, there are others out there this weekend that will have to deal with disappointment, but hopefully they will endure and ultimately end up with a tumultuous NFL career and a great gig at CSTV. The CSTV part after I retire, of course. Wouldn't want some former NFL stud taking my gig.