Former UConn running back and 2010 Big East Offensive Player of the Year Jordan Todman spoke last week about what he's been doing to prepare for the 2011 NFL season, even though the league is four months into a lockout and teams and players haven't had much in the way of contact since March.
Todman, drafted in the sixth round by the Chargers, has a playbook, and has met some of his teammates, but he's mostly been trying to keep in shape for the eventual start to the season, which should happen in the coming weeks.
And while Todman was disappointed with the round in which he was drafted, he's still better off than former Huskies teammate Scott Lutrus. The linebacker performed well at the NFL Combine in February, but he went undrafted two months later, perhaps because of injury concerns. Either way, there was a good chance he would catch on with a team as an undrafted free agent, something that usually happens in the hours after the draft ends. Except this year, with the lockout, teams weren't (and still aren't) allowed to sign players. That will come in a flurry of activity over several days once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, and just before training camps start.
"I haven't talked to any teams since the draft, couldn't talk to any afterward because of the lockout, so it's been tough," said Lutrus, according to the Hartford Courant. "I've just been working out twice a day, running in the morning, lifting in the afternoon, trying to stay in shape, so that when an opportunity comes I'll be ready to give it my best shot."
Lutrus, who was understandably upset about not getting drafted, is now over it and looking forward to his next opportunity to make an NFL team.
"I'm not sure where I'd go once the lockout got lifted," Lutrus said. "I'd go wherever for an opportunity, obviously. We'll see what the next move is after talking to some people and seeing what's going on with teams. I just have to get into a camp, play some ball and try to make a team."
If Lutrus needs some extra motivation, former NFL coach Herm Edwards spoke recently at the NFLPA Rookie Symposium. "It really doesn't matter when you got drafted," Edwards said. "I was not drafted. I was a free agent. Played for 10 years, men. Never missed a game, never missed a practice. I was ready to go when they kicked the ball off. Make sure you're ready to go."
And, really, that's all you can do.