Cougar Pro Update: TE GABRIEL REID

"Those were the two most stressful days of my life. Teams kept calling to say they were going to take me with their next pick and then it never happened."

That's how former BYU tight end Gabriel (Gabe) Reid described his real life introduction to the unpredictable world of the NFL draft, shared by many mid-to-late round draft prospects.

After all was said and done, Reid was not drafted, but was awash with enthusiastic offers from as many as 12 NFL teams vying to sign him to a free agent contract.

Further describing his draft day experience, Reid said "one team called me before the draft started and told me that they were going to take me in the 4th or 5th round if I was still available and that never happened.

"About the middle of the 7th round, teams started calling. I had 10 to 12 teams call me, trying to butter me up so I would sign with them as a free agent. Coaches were saying things like 'Can you believe this? I can't believe you haven't been drafted.' I juggled two different cell phones and, at times, I had to put a coach on hold while I answered another coach's call."

How did Reid's wife, Heather, handle the highs and lows of his draft day experience? "She was real supportive. She felt bad for me more than anything."

Reid said his final choices came down to Cleveland and the New York Jets. He said the Jets told him before the draft they would not draft a tight end, but he was their #1 tight end choice as a free agent.

The American Samoa native said he initially announced he was going to sign with the Cleveland Browns, but changed his mind after further evaluation. By then, the Jets had signed two other free agents as tight ends. However, he said Jets coaches were delighted when he called back to say he would be interested in signing with them.

"The Jets have the type of offense that uses as many as three tight ends and I saw a better opportunity for myself with them."

Commenting on his mini-camp experience with the Jets, Reid said "I didn't drop a ball that was catchable. I was very involved. I got a lot of reps, mostly with the 2nd and 3rd teams. I got good feedback from the coaches. They were really good to me.

"There were five tight ends in mini-camp. They have released one already and three are returning from last year's team," Reid said.

"I need to learn the different (new) blocking schemes," said Reid. "The Jets do more one-on-one aggressive power blocking where you drive the guy back. BYU was more finesse zone blocking where you could just shield the guy."

With his family (Heather is expecting a second child and his toddler daughter Milovale) firmly supportive of his goals, Reid is now steadfastly determined to make the final cut as a NFL player.

For the time being, he is focused on learning the New York Jets playbook. He is a meticulous notetaker and studies his meeting notes nightly during training camp.

Fresh from his positive and productive Cougar football experiences, Reid talked about how BYU prepared him for the NFL.

"Because I played for Coach Edwards and Coach Crowton, I felt like I was a step ahead. The offensive terminology was different, but there are a lot of similarities. I felt like I understood the concepts behind the plays because of my experience here at BYU."

Physically, Reid says he's in pretty good shape. He feels faster than ever before because of his preparation for the NFL combine testing. As part of his preparation, he placed more emphasis on "track and speed stuff than strength and weight room" training. In the off-season, he said, he will continue to work out with BYU's strength and conditioning coach Jay Omer.

So what's next for Gabe Reid? He has been in New York since May 16 for more training and remains there until mid-June. He will then take a break to spend time with his family until training camp begins in July.

Reid, brother of former BYU linebacker and three-year NFL player Spencer Reid, also has two younger college football-playing siblings, both returned missionaries, attempting to follow in his and Spencer's footsteps -- Gordon, a sophomore running back at Snow College, and Adney, a freshman walk on linebacker at BYU.

He concluded by adding, "I am definitely visualizing myself in a Jets uniform."

The New York Jets play their first pre-season game in Japan this year against the SuperBowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Beyond his professional football aspirations, Reid said he plans to eventually start his own business, following the example of his entrepreneurial parents Eugene and Ruth (Tupu) Reid.

"I learned a lot watching them and my uncles run their businesses and grew up working in our family business. It was a great experience for me and my 12 brothers and sisters.

Copyright © 2003

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