If pinching himself didn't work, a pair of phone calls cleared up that Scott Chandler was not dreaming. The former Iowa tight end spoke with the couple of San Diego Charger Pro Bowlers after the team selected him the fourth round of Sunday's NFL Draft.
"That was really cool that he would do that," Chandler said. "Antonio Gates, man, I'm looking forward to learning from him and getting advice."
Kaeding delivered a comforting message.
"He just told me that it's a great team to be a part of," Chandler said. "They don't have any egos. He welcomed me to the family."
Fellow Hawkeyes Ed Miles (Dolphins), Miguel Merrick (Chargers), Marcus Paschal (Eagles), Drew Tate (Rams) signed free agent contracts on Sunday. Kicker Kyle Schlicher has been receiving interest from several teams but has not inked a deal yet. Mike Jones did not return a call from Hawkeye Nation.
Chandler and Kaeding played for one season (2003) together at Iowa. They also took part in a Character Counts event in January in honor of Hawkeye Coaching Legend Hayden Fry.
Chandler also will be reunited in San Diego with former Hawkeyes Derrick Robinson and Mike Goff. And Merrick signed the free agent deal with the Chargers on Sunday.
"I was a little surprised that San Diego picked me," Chandler said. "I had talked to some other teams that had me targeted. But I was pleasantly surprised. I get to go to a team that was 14-2 (in '07).
"I'm really, really excited. Getting drafted is the fulfillment of a childhood dream."
Chandler also spoke with Chargers new head coach Norv Turner and tight ends coach Clancy Barone on Sunday. They expressed their excitement over Chandler joining the team but didn't get into what was expected of the rookie.
"I go out on Thursday for mini-camp," Chandler said. "I'll get a better feel for what they want then."
Paschal felt Philly might be his destination before the draft. The Eagles brought him in for an individual workout and were looking to get younger at safety.
"They called me during the sixth round (on Sunday)," Paschal said. "The secondary coach wanted to take me then but they team went with a different pick and they didn't have a seventh rounder. They called right after the draft and we worked out a deal in a few minutes."
Paschal will be reunited with his predecessor as Iowa's free safety, Sean Considine, who earned a starting spot with Philadelphia last season, his second with the club.
Philly only retained three safeties from last season and brought another one in outside of Paschal this weekend. NFL teams usually keep at least five safeties.
"It's a great situation for me," Paschal said. "I called (Iowa defensive backs) coach Phil Parker after the draft and he was excited. He said that Sean will be able to help me a lot. It will be like having a big brother there."
Arizona also was trying to reel Paschal in as a free agent.
Miles gets to head south from his home town of Tallahassee. He isn't a life-long Dolphins fan, but he likes what he sees.
"They run the same defensive scheme as we did at Iowa and they use the same terminology," Miles said. "I should be able to make a quick transition."
Miles will be reunited with Matt Roth, whom he played with for two seasons at Iowa.
"We have a good relationship," Miles said. "I know he's the type of guy that would go to bat for me."
Miles said that the Cardinals also tried to convince him to sign as a free agent.
Merrick joins the team in the NFL with the most former Hawkeyes on the roster.
"That played a huge roll in me picking San Diego," Merrick said. "I know I'll have some familiar faces there that will help me get over the hump. The weather isn't bad either. It won't be snowing in April."
Tate never even talked with a team on Sunday. His agent called him right after the draft and said he was headed for St. Louis.
"That's all I know," Tate said. "I don't know anything else. All I wanted was a chance to get into a camp and throw the football. I have that now. I'm looking forward to it."
Schlicher received a call and offer from Baltimore on Sunday, but the Ravens already had signed a free agent kicker and the Iowa senior would have been the No. 2 guy. He decided to wait.
"I'm pretty confident that I'm going to get a chance somewhere," he said. "There will be guys that go into camp and don't get it done or places where I can go to beat somebody out. My agent is talking with other teams."
Jacksonville was in the mix, but resigned Josh Scobee to a long-term deal. Atlanta also has been in contact with Schlicher's agent.