best dr dre beats headphones Former UMass safety Darren Thellen performs under the microscope at team’s pro day
Thellen, along with eight other seniors from the University of Massachusetts football team Michael Cox, Perry McIntyre, Stephane Milhim, Quinton Sales, Nick Speller, Alan Williams, Hafis Williams and Deion Walker is participating in drills in front of scouts from 14 NFL teams at the team pro day, held Monday.
The workout lasts nearly three hours, but two 40 yard dash attempts are the centerpiece of Thellen r
The Brockton native just wants a chance at a chance an invite to an NFL camp. What he does in front of the men with stopwatches will dictate whether that happens.
When Thellen arrives at Gillette Stadium, his biggest problem is finding the door he supposed to enter. He used to being dropped off by a bus, then just following a crowd of maroon and white into a locker room.
It weird for him to be back at this place, he says. There was some finality to the season ending loss to Central Michigan on that gray November day. The broad corridors underneath the stadium stir recently buried memories.
Since graduating in December with a degree in finance, Thellen has spent his time in Miami training six days a week with fellow clients of his agent, David Weinshel. The training is specifically designed to prepare him for the drills he is about to perform. He been in Florida for over two months preparing for Monday there is no reason for him to be nervous.
But the nerves are there. The pineapple and hard boiled eggs he had for breakfast are performing their own vertical leap tests at the moment. Through a shower, stretching, breakfast, and a slow ride with his grandfather to Gillette, the nerves continue.
By 10:15, he sits on the sideline inside the Patriots’ indoor practice facility. Beats by Dre headphones are kicking out his pre game playlist of Kanye West, Rick Ross and Jay Z, along with his favorite jam “Ambition” by Wale.
to dream a dream, though it harder to live it, the chorus echoes.
People have told him since the seventh grade his dream of playing in the NFL was unrealistic.
Today is his chance to take big step toward proving them wrong.
At the call of a short, balding man wearing a Patriots windbreaker, the day proceedings begin with measurements of height, weight, wingspan and hand size.
Thellen is measured at 6 foot 1 and 7/8. He been 6 2 his whole life, he says later. He not sure where that last 1/8 went.
It serves as a crude reminder he is not a person at this moment. He and his teammates are parts, and these measurements are their specifications. The men with clipboards are there to help decide whether the parts can help their multimillion dollar machines.
The vertical leap is the first test of athletic ability, to be followed by the broad jump. Thellen performance in each is passable, but not noteworthy.
He looks relaxed while he waits for other Minutemen to take their turns. He smiles and exchanges hugs and handshakes with UMass safeties coach Ted Daisher, coach Charley Molnar and his mentor UMass alumnus and Bengals safety Jeromy Miles.
After he bench presses 225 pounds 13 times another good, not great performance the man in the windbreaker announces the main event is moments away.
loose, he says. gonna run. gets ready for two shots at the most important 10 seconds of his life.
For a fringe NFL prospect like Thellen, the 40 is what the scouts look at first. A fast time gets the rest of your repertoire considered. A slow one gets you to the CFL or Arena Football League.
Between two plastic cones, he gets in position on top of a piece of white tape that marks the starting line. He starts in a four point stance, then slowly walks his hands back toward his body, cocking his rear end farther into the air and loading his body like a spring.
He pulls his left hand behind his back like a sprinter in a starting block.
You can stay in that position too long, Thellen says. There is just enough time to thank God for your gifts before it time to run for your future.
The whole operation of the 40 yard dash is startlingly quiet. There is no starting gun. No one even says, Once Thellen takes off, the sound of his cleats kicking up black rubber pellets on the FieldTurf is barely noticeable. The loudest noise is the beeping of stopwatches as he explodes out of his stance.
While running, he tries to remember everything he learned in Miami. Stay as low as you can. Run straight. Hold your breath for the first 15 yards.
His eyes are barely open as he hits top speed and surges toward the finish line.
With a second beep from the stopwatches, it over.
The stopwatch in the hand of UMass running backs coach Roderick Plummer reads in the 4.5s. He won show it to the prying eyes of a reporter long enough to get the second digit of the decimal.