Page Prepares for NFL

Next weekend, North Carolina defensive tackle Chase Page hopes to spend some quiet time with his family at home near Charleston, S.C. He's expecting it to be a routine spring afternoon in the historic southern city. And, not necessarily an afterthought, but maybe his name will be called during the 2006 NFL Draft.

"Either way, I'm going to get my chance," Page said on Thursday.

"I'll watch it Saturday. And Sunday I'll definitely be glued to the TV. But not just for me, but to see my teammates."

Page was flown to San Diego on Tuesday at the expense of the Chargers, to tour the team's facilities and to meet with head coach Marty Schottenheimer and his staff.

"[Chargers DL coach Wayne Nunnely] and I got along really well," Page said. "I met Coach Schottenheimer, the general manager [A.J. Smith] and the strength coaches. Basically, I just met everybody."

While he was there, Page underwent a thorough examination by Chargers' team doctors that lasted nearly two hours.

"The physical was the biggest thing," Page said. "They did an EKG, they drew my blood, did X-Rays, they looked at my teeth; they did everything. I think I did fine. There were no real problems. So I think I'm pretty healthy."

Page said he spent a great deal of time with Nunnely and found his coaching style strikingly similar to that of UNC assistant Kenny Browning.

"They have the same thoughts on technique and how to play on certain plays," Page said. "That's why they were looking at me. They like my fundamentals. They think that I can be a fit there."

Along with all his full-time duties of coaching spring practice and recruiting, Browning was instrumental in helping Page prepare for the draft.

"He owes Kenny Browning a giant thanks for improving his technique and assisting him this spring, and with all the time and help he provided Chase coordinating video and information for interested NFL teams," his father, Tony, said. "Regardless of the outcome on draft day, it would be great to acknowledge Coach Browning for taking the time to help a graduated player during what is one of the busiest times of the year for him."

Page also credited former UNC assistant Hal Hunter, who left to become San Diego's offensive line coach last February, for "putting in a good word" for him and helping set up the visit.

Page turned in strong performances during Pro Timing Day in Chapel Hill on March 21. He measured and weighed in at 6-foot-4 ¾ and 296 pounds, completed 28 reps of 225 pounds and ran a ‘4.9-forty.'

"That was a little slow for Chase, but equaled the fastest forty for a DT at the combine," the elder Page noted. "He also recorded a broad jump of nine feet and 11 inches – one inch farther than State's super Mario [Williams] jumped at the combine."

Page also scored a 29 on the Wonderlic test – well above the league's average.

Along with the Chargers, Page said he's received the most interest from the St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and New York Giants. Yet, he's quick to stipulate that UNC teammate Jason Brown – a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2005 – never spoke to anyone with the Ravens organization prior to his selection.

"I'm just going to expect the unexpected," Page said. "It could be great or not so great."

After starting his college career as a tight end, then moving to guard; Page finally found a home on the defensive line, switching over to defense during the spring prior to his sophomore season.

Since then he started every game at either tackle or end – with a year off as a medical redshirt in 2004 when he tore a tendon in his left hand.

In three complete seasons, Page had 123 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He was also a vocal team leader – on the field and in the locker room - and a key cog in the revival of a UNC defense that went from the laughing stock of the ACC in '02 and '03, to one of the league's stingier units in Page's senior campaign.

Somewhere in the highlight reel the Page family and Browning gathered for NFL scouts, there's a clip of him chasing down Virginia quarterback Marquis Hagans last October.

Clinging to a 7-5 lead with less than two minutes to play, the Cavs had possession at the Tar Heels' 36-yard line and needed just a few more yards to set up a game-winning field goal attempt.

But Page flushed Hagans out of the pocket, forcing him to heave an errant pass that was tipped by Cedrick Holt and picked out of the air by Trimane Goddard to effectively end the game.

Page added that the professional manner in which John Bunting runs the UNC football program has greatly benefited him over the past few months.

"He does everything first-class," Page said. "The way we run practice is a pro style, and the way we approach it every day. I was talking to [the Chargers] about how they ran things and it was all very similar. So I think the transition will be a lot easier."

So whether Page hears his name called from the podium at Radio Music Hall in New York this weekend, goes the route of free agency or other; he says his mind will remain at ease knowing he's done his part. Now it's up the NFL coaches to decide if Page will get a chance to play on Sundays.

"If Chase does make it in the NFL, he will deserve most of the credit for his hard work," his father said. "I'm proud of my son."

Inside Carolina Top Stories