When the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens selected former California cornerback Marc Anthony with their compensatory pick in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft (247th overall), they made a little bit of Golden Bears history.
Anthony became the second Cal corner taken -- following Steve Williams (145th overall to the San Diego Chargers) -- marking the first time ever that two former Bears cornerbacks had been selected in the same draft.
"All of my congratulations go to Steve and what he's done for the program, and I hope he does his thing out there in San Diego, and I wish him nothing but the best," Anthony said. "That's a pretty cool accomplishment."
Anthony also became the third former Chandler (Ariz.) High School alumnus taken in the draft, following Oregon State's Markus Wheaton -- who was taken with the 17th pick in the third round (79th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers – and Oregon's Dion Jordan -- taken with the third overall pick by the Miami Dolphins.
"I watched the whole draft, this whole weekend, and being good friends with markus Wheaton and Dion, I saw those guys go pretty early, so I extend my congratulations out to them," Anthony said. "Just to be able to follow it up and get drafted to one of the best teams in the NFL was unbelievable ... We always talked about it. As soon as we chose where we were going to go for school, it's always been a dream of ours, and it's kind of crazy and surreal, now that we're living it."
While Anthony was only seven picks away from being Mr. Irrelevant, he sees neither the title nor the lateness of his pick as anything to hang his head about. He is, after all, going to the reigning champs.
"Most people might think that it's an embarrassing thing, but to me, who wouldn't want to be selected in the NFL Draft?" Anthony said. "There are so many football players out there that just wish to have the opportunity. It's just another draft pick, and for people who think it's an embarrassing thing, I don't know. Anybody would trade what they were doing to get drafted into the NFL."
Anthony's reaction when he got the call on Saturday afternoon reflected how much of a privilege he feels it is to even be picked.
"I was kind of anxious, because it was coming towards the end of the seventh round of the draft, and many teams were calling me for free agent opportunities," Anthony said. "I had noticed, when I got off the phone with a team, that Baltimore was calling, and I just happened to look up at the screen, and see that Baltimore had the next pick. When I answered the phone, they asked me, and they said that they were going to use their next pick on me. They asked if I was excited, and I couldn't even explain how I felt at that point.
"I talked to [John] Harbaugh, and they expressed how excited they were to have me, and I talked to another coach, but I'm just anxious to get out there this upcoming weekend. I'm ready to get back on the field."
Anthony got the call while watching the draft and waiting with no shortage of well-wishers down in Arizona, during a graduation/draft party at the family home.
"It was one of the best experiences anybody or any college athlete can feel. I'm just happy, with my whole family," Anthony said. "Right now, we have a draft/graduation party here at the house, back home, and we invited friends and family, so everyone's out here in the living room, enjoying everything and talking and communicating and catching up with everybody. It's just a good time spending time with family."
Anthony does not have many expectations of early playing time with Baltimore, but he's more than ready to get back to work and earn his spot -- whatever that may be.
"They ran over whatever I can do, which is most likely on special teams, but I can go in and contribute in any way," Anthony said. "I'm going to go in there, learn the playbook and study the heck out of it and whatever or however I can contribute, that's how I can contribute. It's not about playing right away. It's being able to contribute, that's all I need."
Studying is far from foreign for Anthony, who already took his degree in African American Studies from Cal.
"Cal teaches you a lot," Anthony said. "It was one of the most inspirational times in my life. [Cal] taught me how to grow up and deal with adversity, and it taught me a lot, because I come from a place that's nowhere close to Berkeley, so I got to see both sides of everything. Playing football, going to one of the best institutions out there, it teaches you a lot about how to balance yourself with school and football and how to carry yourself as an individual and becoming a man. It teaches you a lot about life."
DRAFT IN-DEPTH: Far From Irrelevant
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