Brown's DeOssie submits resume to NFL
WINCHESTER -- Like most college seniors, North Andover native and Brown University senior Zak DeOssie is looking for a job. And last week at the invitation-only National Football League Combine in Indianapolis, the Phillips Academy alumnus and first Brown player invited to the weeklong event, joined 35 other linebackers, about 300 other players, and scouts and coaches from every NFL team in preparation for next month's draft. Globe NorthWest sat down with DeOssie this week to talk about the event:
Q What were the first couple of days like?
A You just show up, and they height and weight you the next day. You have meetings with doctors. You bring your medical portfolio, and you meet in 10 different rooms with three team doctors. Everyone's poking and prodding you, physical therapists and trainers and doctors. They read through your portfolio, and read to all the rest of the teams what's going on with you. . . . That took probably six hours. All the rest of your down time is just interviews with scouts and coaches.
Q What kinds of things did they ask you?
A Well, the generic questions are: How many kids do you have? How many times have you been arrested? Do you have your degree? But once we got away from that, it was: Why should we draft you? Why should you be a good fit for us? Explain to me your defense. Where do you see yourself in a 4-3 [defense]? Where do you see yourself in a 3-4? Tell me a good joke. Tell me a dirty joke.
Q Did you have a dirty joke prepared?
A I did, but it's certainly inappropriate for the Globe.
Q Was the whole thing mentally taxing at all?
A You kind of get in a robot mode because you're explaining all the same stuff over and over again. You try to bring as much character into it as you can despite how tired you are and how long these interviews last. I'm in there for three hours a night, just going back and forth between the teams.
Q What's the atmosphere like with the other guys? Is it competitive, or are guys friendly?
A Everyone's friendly. A little quiet, a little nervous tension for everybody. We're all just there trying to do the same thing. Everyone has mutual respect for everyone else, and it doesn't matter where you've come from or what you've done in the past. Everyone knows you're a player. Everyone knows that when you're there. There's a lot of nervous tension, but at the same time, you've got to have fun with it. We started joking around toward the end a lot more.
Q Being the only Ivy Leaguer there, did you get some ribbing from the other guys?
A Some guys didn't even know what the Ivy League was. But, yeah, there's a stereotype that goes around, and they're all saying, "What are you going to get on the Wonderlic [an intelligence test given to prospective players]?" I just fooled a lot of people, I think. But it's a nice stereotype to have. I don't mind it, and I just use it to my advantage. It is what it is; you've just got to look at it that way. I feel like you can go to any university and get a fine education, but Brown is known for its Ivy League status, and it's good to have.
Q So, I take it you were glad with your times down there?
A I mean, can I do better? Yes. Did I do enough to turn heads? Yes. There's always the possibility of going down there and having a fluke bad day. I don't want to do that. I did exactly what I needed to do, and I'm content with where I'm at. I'm always working to get better. I'm not going to stop doing drills. It makes me a better football player; it makes me a better athlete.
Q You're on the list as an inside linebacker, but people are saying outside linebacker. Where do you see yourself?
A Outside linebacker. Initially, I see myself as a big special teams contributor. That's how I'm going to make a squad, that's how I'm going to make a roster. I'm just going to fly around and hit people on special teams on kickoff returns, and be a long snapper. [Zak's father, Steve DeOssie, is a former Patriots long snapper.]
Q At this point, do you have any sort of thoughts about where you're hoping to be in the draft, or where you're expecting to go?
A I'll tell you what I tell everyone else. I could care less if I'm playing in Alaska for an expansion team. I just want to play football. It doesn't matter where I am. I love the game, I have a passion for it, and I'm just excited to play. It's a true honor to be even considered to get drafted.
Mike Lipka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.