By Jerraud Powers
Iron Bowl 2008. We lost to Alabama for the first time in six years. I remember sitting in the locker room talking with Senderrick Marks about the game and plans for the future. Sen was projected to go in the first round of the draft. He knew before the season began that there was a chance he could enter the draft after the season was over. We were both juniors at the time and before we could make it to the bus, we got word that Coach Tubb had gotten fired. At the moment, I had planned on returning to school for my senior season. Sen’ told me to get my paperwork to fill out and send to NFL to get my own draft grade as well. Well, that paperwork came back stating “5th round-undrafted.” I remember thinking “I CAN PLAY IN THE NFL, LETS GOOOO!” Lol, the thought of knowing I had somebody in the NFL who thought I was good to get drafted was all I needed. Lol
The first person I talked to was my mom. Her only response was, “Are you graduating this spring?” Her only worry was if I left school a year early, I better have a degree to go with me, and I did. Second person I called for advice was Coach Tubb. He told me that he thought I could get drafted higher and thought that it was time for me to start making money for playing football. The next person I called was Will Muschamp. He was defensive coordinator for 2 years before leaving for Texas. He made some calls personally for me to get some feedback and thought that I was mentally/physically prepared for the next level but wanted me to be sure on it. After gathering more information and prayer, I decided to leave school for the NFL.
After training for the combine and pro days, the draft finally came. I remember sitting at my mom’s house with my girlfriend (wife now) and all my family. We were in the living room watching the draft, pick by pick. My agent had told me he got some calls from teams talking about 2nd round possibilities. One team in particular called and told me if I was available when their pick came, that I was going to be their choice. I received similar calls from the Bengals and Browns around that same time. Those picks came and went without my name being called. The 3rd round was happening and by that time, I was upset and started to get impatient. I forget the movie my wife had on, but I wasn’t paying attention to it at all. The phone rang and it was Bill Polian, from the Indianapolis Colts. He asked me how I was doing and I went on a rant about how many corners went before me and how I could play better than everybody that was picked before me. Lol, I was so mad that I hung up the phone because I had no idea who Bill Polian was. He called me back, laughing and told me to calm down and go to the TV because he was locking me with their next pick. I remember my mom and aunt crying tears of joy. It was a great feeling to be rewarded for the sacrifices of each family member who was there to celebrate with me and who had played a role in that accomplishment. I had to apologize to Bill Polian, but he understood the frustrations of life-changing events. GO COLTS.