Monday, April 26, 2004

'Closed' Sign at the Meat Market

The meat market has closed.

By that, I mean the NFL player draft has ended and the free agent hopefuls have picked their teams.

So I’ll bet you’re thinking I have some thoughts on all of that business that took place over the weekend in New York City and on the best TV network NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ever smiled foolishly on—good old ESPN.

Know what? You’re right.

And just to prove that I have plenty of thoughts on the draft and the things that happened after the draft, here we go, player by player.

ROBERT GALLERY, offensive tackle from Iowa, the second pick in the first round by the Oakland Raiders:

Robert, don’t forget who your friends have been these past few years. Remember, I was the guy who stood next to Floyd of Rosedale and kept interviewing him on the sideline at Kinnick Stadium last Nov. 15 so he’d be warmed up for you to lug him out to the center of the field after your Hawkeyes celebrated their 40-22 victory over Minnesota. Don’t forget, it was me who suggested the other day that you use some of those millions you’re going to get from the Raiders and buy a $117,508 Hummer as your second car—behind, of course, your 1984 Buick. Robert, you’ll be signing a multi-year contract one of these days for somewhere between $45 and $50 million. Surely you won’t mind sending a couple of million to your pal, Ron, will you? Think it over. My phone number is 515-225-3047 and the e-mail address is

BOB SANDERS, defensive back from Iowa, the 44th pick in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts:

This guy can do it all—tackle, intercept passes, force fumbles, block kicks—regardless of what they call him. His given name is Demond, but he was known as hard-hitting Bob on Big Ten football fields. They’re going to like this guy in Indy.

NATE KAEDING, placekicker extraordinaire from Iowa, the 65th pick in the third round by the San Diego Chargers:

Hey, this guy could wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning, drive to Kinnick Stadium, jump the fence and kick a 45-yard field goal with 5 inches of snow on the ground. I hear the first words out of his mouth when he was born March 26, 1982 were, “Tell the coach I’ll get him 3 points anytime he needs them.”

JARED CLAUSS, defensive lineman from Iowa, the 230th pick in the seventh round by the Tennessee Titans:

For some reason, I keep thinking of that line a guy used a number of years ago about the football program at Valley High School in West Des Moines. “That’s a school where they get 30 kids out for football and 300 out for the marching band” was how it went. Those days are long-gone now, of course. Valley, which has won two consecutive state Class 4-A championships, is now turning out players like the 6-5, 280-pound Clauss. If he doesn’t make it with the Titans, it won’t be because of lack of effort.

ERIK JENSEN, tight end from Iowa, the 237th pick in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams:

He might not be Dallas Clark, the tight end who was a first-round choice of Indianapolis last season, but he certainly didn’t embarrass himself as a Hawkeye. Besides, he’s got a 3.5 grade-point average. If things don’t work out with St. Louis, I’ll bet he can use his marketing degree to get a pretty good job.

The Free Agent Signees

Lane Danielsen, wide receiver from Iowa State who went to the Minnesota Vikings:

Who’d ever think a kid from a place named Dike, Ia., would wind up to be Iowa State’s all-time leading receiver with 163 receptions for 2,690 yards? Wouldn’t Danielsen’s mother, the late Sonia Derrick, be proud of him now? Sonia died from injuries suffered in a tragic car accident on May 14, 2001 in Waterloo.

JORDAN CARSTENS, defensive lineman from Iowa State who went to the Carolina Panthers:

All this 303-pounder did was come off a farm in Bagley, Ia., show up at Ames without a football scholarship, then amass 306 tackles (including 23 for losses and 10 quarterback sacks). Pro football might be the only thing that’ll keep him off a tractor on parents James and Joni Carstens’ farm. After all, Jordan majored in agricultural business.

LANCE YOUNG, wide receiver from Iowa State who went to the Cincinnati Bengals:

Young went from Wisconsin to a junior college (where he didn’t even play football) to Iowa State, where he finished 10th on the Cyclones’ reception chart with 84 catches for 1,273 yards and sixth on the kickoff return list with 998 yards. He’s the kind of free agent who could stick with an NFL team.

SAM AIELLO, offensive lineman from Iowa who went to the Chicago Bears:

Don’t look for Jon Beutjer, the quarterback who transferred from Iowa to Illinois, to be watching the Bears much on TV next season. At least he won’t admit it if he does. Beutjer left the Hawkeyes after taking an off-the-field whipping from Aiello. Whatever, the Bears must like what they’ve seen on videotape of Slammin’ Sam.

EDGAR CERVANTES, fullback from Iowa who went to the New York Giants:

Is the Big Apple big enough for both Cervantes and Eli Manning?

NATHAN CHANDLER, quarterback from Iowa who went to the Buffalo Bills:

So were you one of the guys who booed Chandler every Saturday last fall? Were you one of the guys who screamed, “Hell, he can’t carry Brad Banks’ jockstrap?” Well, don’t write the 6-7, 250-pound Chandler off yet.

HOWARD HODGES, defensive lineman from Iowa who went to the San Diego Chargers:

The Chargers like smart players from Iowa. First it was Kaeding in the third round, then it was Hodges as a free agent. Kaeding was an academic all-conference selection, Hodges majored in economics and is in the top 25 percent of his class academically.

ERIC ROTHWELL, offensive lineman from Iowa who went to the Kansas City Chiefs:

Another offensive lineman who made big strides under Kirk Ferentz, a guy who knows a good one when he sees one.

FRED RUSSELL, tailback from Iowa who went to the Miami Dolphins:
He could have played another season for the Hawkeyes, but he’ll turn 24 in September. He’s running out of time.

GRANT STEEN, linebacker from Iowa who went to the New England Patriots:

From Emmetsburg, Ia., to the defending Super Bowl champions. It’s going to be a great success story if Steen sticks. But it’s going to be tough.

Drake Relays Honorees

Bernard “Kip” Lagat of Kenya and Alabama junior Beau Walker were named the outstanding men’s and women’s performers in last weekend’s Drake Relays.
Lagat won the men’s invitational mile in 3 minutes 57.11 seconds—the fastest outdoor time in the world this year. It also was the second-fastest mile in Drake Relays history. Only the 3:55.26 by Steve Scott in 1979 is better.

Walker won the women’s university-college 100 hurdles (13.18) and 400 hurdles (57.97). She also anchored the Crimson Tide to victories in the university-college 4x100 shuttle hurdle relay (54.92) and the university 4x100 relay (45.48).

Vol. 4, No. 232
April 26, 2004