A day later and the gala continues with some of the NFL's biggest names making appearances in Mobile.
Waking up like any other day, I did not expect to come into contact with some of the true high rollers of professional football. Maybe just call it naiveté on my part, but I expected this day to be like any other when it comes to my previous football experiences. It was anything but.
The festivities on this first day of full action for the players and coaches began with the weigh-ins, or as I like to call it, the "meat market".
Players march their way into the makeshift ballroom in nothing but their underwear. They are measured to the centimeter and weighed. The booming voices of the two volunteer coaches calling out those measurements as the players parade out of the ballroom under the watchful eyes of hundreds of scouts. Obviously, some players disappoint with their physique, while fortunate others do impress. [Note: Robert McCune, MLB Louisville, wins this year specimen award].
While walking out of the "meat market", I literally ran into the Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, and Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Both seemed to be in a huff and a hurry to whatever destination of their choice. As I reeled back from bumping into the very fashionable Tuna, I almost run into Tony Dungy, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Luckily, my cat-like athleticism saved me, and I was able to avoid Mr. Dungy and not ruin the TV interview he was taping with the local media.
After the unsettling "close encounters", it was decided to grab some lunch before the first Senior Bowl practices commenced later in the afternoon.
Lo and behold whom do I sit right next to?
That's right dawgs... Cleveland's former favorite son, Paul "Butch" Davis. Butch seemed to be having a great time conversing with his sidekick, Pete Garcia.
I asked myself immediately, "Why the hell would Butch Davis be in Mobile for Senior Bowl week?" Of course, I jumped to the conclusion was Butch MUST be looking and schmoozing for a new job. So keep your eyes and ears open to see if Mr. Paul Hilton Davis will really take next year off or not. The thought quickly passed, as finishing my Angus burger assumed top priority.
Once lunch had reached its filling conclusion, it was off to the first practice of the week and to finally see some football.
Since the weigh-ins occurred earlier in the day, the North and South squads had to practice simultaneously at two different sites, presenting a logistical challenge to the Scout.com contingent. Through some information we had gathered, I had reasons to go to the North practice, but decided my eyeballs were needed more to see the South squad practice.
As you would expect, I made a beeline straight for the offensive line drills.
To my dismay, a Cleveland Browns coach parked himself right next to me. Some would find this exciting, but I am no Larry Zierlein fan. Overcoming some violent impulses brought on by this past season's play, I did manage was overhear a bit of his conversation with a Chicago Bear scout, nothing of great importance to be honest, other than hearing the Bear scout did rib Zierlein about being there to draft another center.
Still, Zierlein was also heard to discuss with his peers why top OL prospects Alex Barron and Elton Brown were not there. So, if nothing else, we can be encouraged by the interest the team has in top offensive line prospects.
I then decided to head to a different vantage point where I could still watch the line, but keep an eye out for the QB's and receivers.
After strategically positioning myself, I happened to look over and notice that Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was checking out the prospects as well.
As I dictate into my little tape recorder of everything I see when it comes to lineman I start to feel like I actually belong here and am not just along for the ride.
Now after just thinking that, I happen to run past Kevin Gilbride, Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones again, even Mike Tice (who had an awesomely large cigar in his mouth).
So my ego, which just previously gotten the better of me, was back in check. I go on to see Tony Dungy again, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, and Ivan Maisel of ESPN magazine fame. I think to myself this time, "I'm here. The big time."
But then, reality again strikes me upside the head. I have a job to do.
Namely, I need to finish out the day's festivities by stealthily tracking Cleveland Browns scouts.
But you'll read more about that later……