In the middle of my workout, my phone rings. Now, this happens during the majority of my workouts. But that’s the end of normalcy. The call was an executive from an NFL team – a team that possesses a top ten pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Not some low-level grunt, but a legitimate personnel executive.
Ready for this one folks? He said his head coach – again, a coach with one of the top picks in the draft – was thinking out of the box and wondered if there was any MMAers who I thought would make good NFL players. Seriously! They were inquiring whether anyone in the world of MMA would be interested in coming to minicamp and trying his hand at pro football.
My fi rst reaction was to assume this was a practical joke played in revenge for something I’ve pulled in the last year. After all, a quick inventory of my knuckleheaded NFL and MMA friends on whom I’ve played jokes was longer than the draft board. But as the call went on, it was clear this was no B-level revenge plot. It was legit.
I started wracking my brain for anybody who could transfer over – and not fl unk a drug test. As diffi cult as the transition was for Johnnie Morton from NFL to MMA, I’m fi guring it would be just as diffi cult the other way.
But why not have some fun with it – especially since I eat, breathe sleep, and live the NFL Draft in mid-April. Draft and Super Bowl weeks are the two lone weeks each year that remain relatively MMA-less in my life…until now.
What if Matt Ryan, Chris Long, Glenn Dorsey, Jake Long, and Darren Mc- Fadden were off the board and the teams selecting in the top ten had the world of MMA to choose from? Instead of interviewing collegiate hopefuls, the Dolphins, Rams, and Falcons, among others, would get fi fteen -minute sessions with the blokes from our world. Workouts at AKA, American Top Team, Chute Box, Xtreme Couture, AZ Combat, and Lion’s Den would replace pro days at Miami, Ohio State, LSU, and Texas.
I could picture the scene already. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell approaches the podium at Radio City Music Hall and taps the mic. “With the fi rst pick of the NFL Draft…the Miami Dolphins select…Anderson Silva, Brazil!”
Silva’s gotta be the Fins pick. He can jump right into their starting lineup, and there’s a huge Brazilian fan base in South Florida. Unlike the real NFL Draft, where there is no consensus top overall selection among this year’s talent, Silva is the top dog on our draft board, as the best pound-for-pound fi ghter on the planet. He has no baggage, and doesn’t get hurt. He’s a team’s dream. As for the others…
No. 2, St. Louis Rams – Fedor Emelianenko. Perhaps the world’s second best fi ghter, the only concern is lack of competition recently. Still, the man doesn’t say a word, which is more than I can say for many of the Rams’ players, who complained all too much last year. Plus, if somebody does complain, head coach Scott Linehan would have an enforcer to keep the troops’ traps shut.
No. 3, Atlanta Falcons – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. When Michael Vick gets out of the clink, Atlanta is going to need somebody to keep his butt in line. Vick would love Jackson, and would likely be scared into doing whatever Jackson tells him. And unlike Vick, Jackson is masterful at working the media and public perception.
No. 4, Oakland Raiders – Nick Diaz. Come on, could there be any more of a perfect fi t here? Diaz cherishes the bad boy role that has long been synonymous with Oaktown. Or, they could elect to trade the pick, drop down, and pick up Phil Baroni. Either fi ts perfectly in the Black Hole. Just think, either fi ghter could get all the sparring he needs with the drunken maniacs in the stands.
No. 5, Kansas City Chiefs – Hong Man Choi- The Chiefs need another wideout. At 7 2 – 305 pounds and with hands the size of pie plates the giant South Korean could be ticket. Choi could stroll down the fi eld and pull passes out of the sky six feet above any where defenders could touch them. Combine this monster with Tony Gonzalez and the Chiefs would have the best-combined vertical in the NFL. I can Ed Herman now; “ Choi plays to win the game!”
No. 6, New York Jets – Chuck Liddell. The Jets need somebody who can steal some popularity from the Giants. For decades, NYC has been a Giants town. But putting the most well known MMAer with Gang Green and perhaps the Big Apple will fi nally notice the poor redheaded stepchild of NY football.
No. 7, New England Patriots (from the 49ers) – Georges St. Pierre. They love athletic guys who can play different positions and roles, and nobody in our world seems as athletic as GSP. Plus, he probably wouldn’t understand what the league was asking him when they investigated whether the Patriots were illegally fi lming opponents.
No. 8, Baltimore Ravens – Cung Le. The Ravens’ new head coach is a wiz when it comes to special teams play. Le would be sick fl ipping, fl ying, and juking his way downfi eld on those kickoffs and punts.
No. 9, Cincinnati Bengals – Randy Couture. This team can’t take anyone with so much as a speeding ticket on his record. They need the squeakiest, cleanest man in the biz. Plus, it would take Randy all of 48 hours to run out of patience with Chad Johnson and abuse the crap out of him. Randy is as nice as they come, but he has little patience for those who like to talk, pout, and showboat.
No. 10, New Orleans Saints – Bob Sapp. Not to play, because that attempt has already failed. But the Saints need a good bodyguard for Reggie Bush. Nobody looks the part more than Sapp.
Oh and folks, one last note. In all seriousness, that call was genuine. If there’s a fi ghter you really and truly believe would be worth a look, email me at glazernfl @hotmail.com. If it’s decent, I’ll pass the suggestion along. If not, I’ll show the email to my buddies and we’ll laugh our asses off at your expense.