Stanback Prepares for NFL Draft

With the biggest day of his young life drawing near, Isaiah Stanback has returned to Seattle. The former UW quarterback has been mostly in Southern California the past several weeks, rehabilitating his injured ankle and preparing for next weekend's NFL Draft.

"I flew to Florida two days ago to visit the Dolphins," said Stanback this past Sunday night. "That was my last trip. Now I'm back home in Seattle. It's good to be home."

Since breaking his ankle in a gruesome manner versus Oregon State last November, Stanback has made hopeful strides in regaining its full use. When not paying visits to NFL teams for physicals and workouts, he has been training at the Athletes Performance complex in Carson, California.

"I had a great physical therapist out there," said Stanback. "My second surgery was about a month and a half ago. Let me tell you, getting the screws removed was waaay easier than when they were put in. Getting them put in during the first surgery was quite painful. But to remove the screws, they just made a little nick over the existing scar, and then backed the screws out. It was very easy. I was walking around the next day.

"We worked on strengthening the foot and basically retraining it," he said. "My schedule was pretty much the same each day. I would go get treatment on my foot in the morning for about an hour, and then go outside for about an hour doing drill work and footwork stuff. With those drills, I was just trying to get back into the groove with things. I'm doing pretty good. Then I would go back inside and lift weights for about one hour. Each day, I would be getting done by about 1 PM."

For his five years at UW, public debate proliferated as to whether Stanback should have been at quarterback or wide receiver. Stanback always remained adamant that he was a quarterback. While he never fully erased the doubts, he proved a lot of skeptics wrong with his greatly effective play his senior year—which was tragically cut short by the ankle injury.

Now as NFL teams take stock of his startling athletic ability, the old debate remains much the same. Some scouts are expressing interest in him as a QB—while others say they see him catching passes and returning kicks. Stanback was asked what the NFL people are telling him.

"I have heard a combination of all that," he said. "Some teams have seen me as a developmental quarterback. Other teams have seen me as a receiver and someone who could help out with special teams. I can't tell you what they thought of me, but I just feel blessed to have gotten invited to the five teams that I went to."

But with the draft now just a week away, where does Stanback see himself going? "Shoot, I really don't know," he said with a chuckle. "In my mind, I'm a first day guy. But when it comes down to it, I will feel blessed to just get on a team and have a chance to work hard and show them what I can do. And I really don't have a preference for west coast or east coast, or anything like that. I just look forward to getting the opportunity."
Derek Johnson can be reached at derekjohnsonbooks@comcast.net

His website is www.derekjohnsonbooks.com

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