By Kent Larsen
'Mr. Irrelevant' Strives to be Anything But
TEMPE, ARIZONA -- Saying that line usually comes much later in a
professional football player's career -- generally after making the team,
after the team wins the Super Bowl, and even after being chosen Most
Valuable Player of the game. But Tevita Ofahengaue could have said the line
on Sunday, after being chosen in the NFL draft's last round, as its very
last pick. That position earns him the title "Mr. Irrelevant" and the right
to reply, if asked what he'll do next, "I'm going to Disneyland!"
The title "Mr Irrelevant" is a quixotic marketing ploy that makes the end of
the NFL draft a little more interesting. By the final round, fan and media
attention has waned, as teams pick players that are their 2nd and 3rd
choices for 2nd and 3rd string positions that they may or may not need. But
the title does give the recipient some dubious media attention, as well as a
number of prizes.
For Ofahengaue, who is an LDS Church member, even playing for BYU came as a
surprise. A native of Hawaii, he was married by 1991 and was working for
American Airlines in 1995 when a friend and BYU player suggested that he try
to make BYU's team. "I am like 'No, I am already making good enough money
and I am traveling the world,'" Ofahengaue said. "But then my parents talked
me into walking on and I came and walked on my first year, then earned a
scholarship and started three years at BYU." Along the way, he and his wife
have built a family of four children, aged 1, 3, 7 and 9.
A tight end, Ofahengaue didn't only start at BYU, he played very well. He
caught 62 passes for 853 yards during his career and scored four touchdowns.
Then, as he finished his career at BYU, he was surprised to find that the
NFL was interested, "Then all of the sudden the NFL starts coming around and
I was like 'Wow, I can't believe that I actually have a chance to be playing
with the big boys.'"
On Sunday, he squeaked into the draft when Arizona Cardinal's coach Dave
McGinnis picked him on the very last pick, "he was the highest tight end on
our board," said McGinnis. The coach then placed a call to Ofahengaue, "I
said 'Are any of your children in the room?' He said, 'Yes, Sir, my two
oldest sons are.' I said, 'Tell them they're going to Disneyland.'"
In addition to the trip to Disneyland, Ofahengaue will go to Newport Beach,
California the last week of June at no charge for a series of parties and
side trips, and at least one trip that he is bound to find irrelevant, a pub
BYU's Ofahengaue is 2001's Mr. Irrelevant
Sporting News (AP) 22Apr01 S2
Cardinals make BYU tight end last NFL pick
Sports Network 22Apr01 S2