Marrow learning business side of pro footballWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Every April, hundreds of former college football players gather around their TVs with close family, friends and coaches to watch the NFL Draft, anxiously waiting to either hear their name called or see it pop up on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. Prior to draft weekend, those players spend months of preparation after their collegiate careers have ended to put themselves in the best position possible to achieve that dream.
One such player is former Toledo cornerback Desmond Marrow, who got a taste of what professional football was like when he traveled to Tucson, Ariz., to participate in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game on Jan. 16.
“I mean, the first day we had to pretty much walk in a room full of, like, 75 [NFL] scouts with just, like, your underwear on pretty much,” Marrow said. “[You’re in] your shorts. You weigh in and then do the height, and it was just, like, the most nervous five minutes of my life.
“It’s like a meat market. Like, they don’t say anything; they just look. They just have their clipboards and just stare.”
Between player arrival on Jan. 10 and the game on Jan. 16, Marrow had nearly a weeklong job interview in front of NFL scouts and personnel to showcase his abilities on the field, competing in four hour-and-a-half long practices from Jan. 11-14.
“The first day we weighed in and we had, like, an hour-and-a-half between the weigh-in until practice,” Marrow said. “I mean, as soon as we hit the practice field every NFL team was there [and] represented at least, like, two or three scouts from each team. A couple general managers were there. The general manager for the Packers, and the Bears and the 49ers were there.
“And there was just, like, the whole perimeter of the field was just covered with NFL teams. It was real intense. It’s like nothing I’ve ever been around.”
Marrow estimated that there were approximately 75 scouts at practice each day in Tucson, giving players an opportunity to meet with various NFL personnel if they performed well. And among the typical topics of draft position and performance, Marrow was surprised by how much the NFL personnel he talked to knew about him as well as what they asked him.
“They were, like, naming my brothers, naming some of my friends,” Marrow said. “They just asked me just a bunch of random questions. They’d be like, ‘You got any kids?’ And I’d be like, ‘Nah, I don’t have any kids.’ And they’d be like, ‘You sure you don’t have any kids?’ And I’d be like, ‘Nah, I’m sure I don’t have any kids.’
“They’d be like, ‘You 100 percent sure?’ And then they’d make you think, like, ‘Wait, do I have kids?’ because they’d just keep asking. Then I’m trying to tell them ‘No,’ and they’d be like, ‘So you don’t have any kids that you know of?’ And I’m like, ‘No, man; I don’t have any kids.’”
While in Tucson, Marrow met with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. He finished with one tackle and one pass breakup for the Stars team in a 24-21 loss to the Stripes team in the all-star game.
“I think I did well in the game,” Marrow said. “I mean, the most important part was the practice, though, because that’s where the scouts were at. They want to see you compete — like, what your practice ways [are] and see if you’re ready to play at the next level because they can only get so much from games. So they want to get, like, an up close, practice feel.”
Marrow has kept in touch with former Rockets’ teammates Stephen Williams and Barry Church, both of whom went undrafted in 2010 but earned roster spots with the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.
“I talk to them all the time, like at least two or three times a week just to get some insight, some pointers or whatever,” Marrow said. “Church was my roommate and [Stephen] was one of my better friends there, so we’re real tight.”
In the meantime until the NFL Draft in April, Marrow has signed with agent Craig Redd of Integrity Sports Management LLC and moved out to Los Angeles on Jan. 28 to begin training at Velocity Sports Performance, where he’ll be for approximately seven weeks.
“You’ve just got to take it all in, man,” Marrow said. “This whole process is sweet. Like, I get to do stuff that I probably never would have done without football, and now I can get paid to play football legally. It’s pretty sweet.”