Three Longshots Aim For The Green By MARK CANNIZZARO
Posted 13 May 2007 - 10:44 AM
By MARK CANNIZZARO May 13, 2007 -- If the fickle gods of fate have their way, three players participating in the Jets' rookie minicamp that opened yesterday at Weeb Ewbank Hall will carve out rather unique NFL careers.
It's a long shot that any one of the three, all of whom are tryout players in for a three-day look-see, will perform well enough to push the team to sign him to a contract. That's because, unlike the other draft picks and free agents working in the minicamp, the three never played college football.
Jesse Pellot-Rosa, a receiver who hasn't suited up in a football uniform since he was a senior in high school, was a member of the Virginia Commonwealth basketball team that shocked Duke in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament in March.
Outside linebacker Tommy Rowlands, a world-class wrestler out of Ohio State who's the No. 1-ranked freestyle heavyweight in the world and headed to the 2008 Olympic Games, hasn't played organized football since eighth grade.
Asked yesterday what position he played, he said, "I don't even remember."
Offensive lineman Cole Konrad, also a world-class freestyle wrestler vying to be on the '08 Olympic team, hasn't played football since he was a freshman in high school. Last month, he lost to Rowlands in the U.S. National Wrestling Championships and is ranked just behind the former Buckeye. Asked when he found out Rowlands was also invited to the Jets' minicamp, Konrad said, "I didn't know he was coming here until Friday."
Give the Jets this: They are creative.
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is fond of saying that he and Eric Mangini don't like to leave "any stone unturned" when looking for players.
Each of the three players, contacted by assistant director of pro scouting Brendan Prophet, was shocked to get the call from the Jets.
"I couldn't believe it," Rowlands said. "I thought it was a prank call."
Konrad was equally surprised.
"It caught me off guard completely," he said. "They said they were bringing me in to see my foot speed and agility to see what kind of potential I had."
Pellot-Rosa said he got the call from the Jets "right after we lost to Pitt [in the second round of the NCAAs]. . . . I was very surprised," he said. "I was still mad about the loss. I was ready to play UCLA in the next round."
Rowlands, who admitted that he might have trouble figuring out how to put pads on if it gets to that (the players work in shirts and shorts in the minicamp), said it's a difficult transition.
"It's informational overload," Rowlands said. "I have a lot harder time catching onto things and learning the terminology. It doesn't matter how much you can retain information if you don't know what the words mean."
Rowlands and Konrad said they'll go right back to preparing for the Olympics once the minicamp is over tomorrow.
Rowlands said. "On June 10, I compete in the final qualification process to go to the World Championships, so my mind was on totally different things three days ago," Rowlands said. "It's been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics."
What if this football thing works out?
"My attitude right now is to take advantage of the opportunity and do the best I can and if they want me to be a part of the team I'll cross the bridge when we get to it," he said. "I'm just trying to a good enough job to where they would even consider me. . . . I love watching football. I've always been curious about how I would do."
All three will know a lot more by the end of the weekend.
Posted 13 May 2007 - 10:52 AM
While he was slogging through stop-and-go traffic at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, the car next to him was violently rear-ended. The quarterback threw his car into park, hopped out and ran to the woman whose car had been hit. She was wearing, of all things, an Esiason jersey, and was utterly shocked when he tapped on her window to check on her.
"Are you OK?" he said, trying to keep calm. "Are you OK?"
"Boomer? Is that you?" she asked the Good Samaritan, sounding disoriented. "I think I'm OK, but . ... "
"But you guys sucked."
Welcome to the New York Jets, Tim Tebow.
Posted 13 May 2007 - 07:05 PM
The guess here is that it is worth seeing if he does well in the end zone outjumping the defender for a TD. I've heard of crazier ideas.