Bad day for C.J.s

All things considered, Wednesday was not a particularly good day to be a former University of Tennessee athlete named C.J. Two ex-Vols who carry that nickname saw their professional futures suffer setbacks.

C.J. Fayton was released by the National Football League's Chicago Bears. C.J. Watson was not among the 10 point guards selected in the National Basketball Association Draft.

Fayton caught 24 passes for 272 yards (11.3 yards per catch) as a member of the 2005 Vol football team. He lowered his 40-yard dash time from 4.7 to 4.5 in the past few months but still was not taken in the seven-round NFL Draft. The Bears signed him as an undrafted free agent but obviously felt his mini-camp performances did not warrant further consideration for a roster spot.

Watson, Tennessee's starting point guard the past four seasons, averaged 15 points per game as a senior last winter, guiding the Vols to a 22-8 record, an SEC Eastern Division title and an NCAA Tournament bid. He led the 2005-06 Vols in both assists and steals.

Only three Southeastern Conference players were selected in the NBA Draft - all in Round 1. LSU's Tyrus Thomas was taken No. 4 by the Portland Trailblazers but immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Arkansas's Ronnie Brewer was taken with pick 14 by the Utah Jazz and Kentucky's Rajon Rondo was taken by the Boston Celtics with pick No. 21.

By the way, today wasn't a good day to be a former University of Tennessee athlete named Omari Hand. The former Vol defensive end (1999-2002) was waived by the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags signed him Jan. 3 as a free agent and assigned him to their practice squad.

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