Waiting Game

Like other soon-to-be rookies, Jerrell Powe is in a strange position.

Powe was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round (199th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft in late April. The summer months are precious for incoming rookies, time to acclimate and prepare as they ready to make the leap from college to the NFL.

But with the league in a lockout, Powe, like other rookies, has been forced to find alternate ways to stay in shape and learn a new playbook. That is, of course, if a rookie was able to grab a playbook April 30, when the lockout was temporarily lifted.

Powe, though, was drafted on the final day of the draft, the day after the lockout was lifted. Contact between organizations and players had already been suspended. He was left to himself, to take his first steps without being given the groundwork.

"It's definitely going to hurt us, because it takes away the time we have to learn different things and get adjusted to how the organization does things," Powe said. "It's definitely going to be a weird feeling. I was asked the question (in the pre-draft process) of what I need to work on. Well, everything, because it's like we're all freshmen again."

Jerrell Powe
Matthew Sharpe
The ongoing standoff between the NFL owners and players is far from over. Actually, Powe and everyone else could be in for a long wait.

Last week, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to keep the lockout intact through the appeal process. A hearing is set for June 3, but the general assumption is the court will uphold the ruling, meaning the lockout will continue indefinitely.

Regardless, Powe is going about his preparation as usual.

Nearly a month after he was drafted, Powe is in his hometown of Waynesboro, Miss., working out five days a week with a trainer.

He is learning the ins and outs of professional football in conversations with two of his former teammates at Ole Miss, Dexter McCluster and Kendrick Lewis, who are entering their second seasons with the Chiefs.

"They were kind of trying to tell me how they do things around the organization, what to expect, what not to expect -- just kind of helping me out on that kind of stuff," Powe said. "I've got to stay close to those guys and try to mirror those guys as I learn the process."

The seemingly never-ending labor strife hasn't dampened his spirits, either. The 24-year-old Powe has long dreamed of playing professional football, and he had hoped to land in Kansas City. The Chiefs showed the most interest of any team in drafting him.

"It was a long wait, but thank God I got the opportunity. Now I've just got to play with the cards I've been dealt with," he said.

He has often thought of when he will first step on the field as a professional. "It's going to be real special," he said. Powe has come a long way since 2008, the year he was finally granted the opportunity to play for Ole Miss after a three-year eligibility battle with the NCAA.

"It's definitely something I've longed for, and a goal I've been trying to obtain for a whole lot of years," he said. "I've achieved that goal now, but now it's starting all over. I'm going to continue to work on my craft every day. It's going to be a special moment the day I roll out there on the field."

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