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Published Wednesday | July 11, 2007

NU Football: Patrick waits for NFL call




LINCOLN — Chris Patrick will find a serene spot on a Michigan lake Thursday and then wait to see if either the fish or any NFL teams are biting.




NFL hopeful Chris Patrick says he left the Husker football program eligible and in good standing.

The National Football League supplemental draft will give teams an equal chance to grab the former Nebraska offensive tackle. If one does, there will be no ESPN coverage, and the team will have to test his cell phone reception as he sits in a boat outside the family's cabin near Alma, Mich.


"I hope I have service up there," Patrick said. "It'll be an important call."


If he sounds relaxed, it's because Patrick has found it the best way to deal with leaving a safe thing for the unknown four months ago.


"I haven't been letting much get to me," Patrick said Tuesday from Ithaca, Mich. "I've kept real busy — fishing, hanging out with family, going and working out — mainly trying to keep my mind off this whole process. If you sit and think about it, it can beat you up a little bit."


Patrick's 14 career starts at NU make him one of the high-profile players among the 11 available in the supplemental draft. Georgia defensive back Paul Oliver and Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither, however, are considered candidates to go before him.


Teams submit bids on players via e-mail and the highest bid or placement within a round lands the prospect.


It's not the normal route to the NFL — mostly taken by players ruled ineligible at their school — but Patrick stands by his decision to forgo his senior season as a Husker.


"Everything I do, I don't look at anything as a mistake," said Patrick, who maintains that he left NU eligible and in good standing. "I loved the guys I played with at Nebraska, and I'll miss those guys and miss playing with those guys. There is a comfort zone with what they're doing right now and not with what I'm doing. But I'm not looking back.


"I'm just confident with my ability and feel like things will work out."


Patrick tested before 20 scouts in Lincoln three weeks ago. He said he's more encouraged than disappointed by the little bits of news coming from agent Joe Linta since then. One knock is that he isn't the prototypical size for an NFL tackle and likely would have to play guard.


"If you can pass protect in the NFL, you can play for a long time," Patrick said. "And I've come from a pro system and done a lot of things similar to what teams do in the NFL."


Only one player has been taken in each of the last two supplemental drafts, costing the team a pick in the same round in the following NFL draft. Those not selected then look to sign free-agent contracts.


Rather than overthinking it, Patrick will go see if the bass or northern pike will take the bait.


"I just want to end up in the best situation and the best place," he said. "The biggest thing to take out of this is that it's not as important to be drafted as it is to be on an active roster come next season."

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