Monday, March 22, 2010

Washington the star attraction of Pro Day

ABILENE -- ACU hosted its annual Pro Day for NFL Scouts on Monday, and while there were approximately 15 players on hand, one player definitely drew the most attention.

Former ACU left tackle Tony Washington took part in portions of the drills and was the star attraction as a camera crew from ESPN and local media outlets documented his every move. The ESPN crew was on hand to film Washington going through the workout for background video that would go with a possible story detailing his off-field personal issues that were revealed two weeks ago.

It's easy to see why NFL scouts still think so highly of Washington. He checked in at just a shade over 6-6 and 304 pounds. He said he lost a few pounds last week after he was stricken with strept throat.

But in just a few months of training for the NFL Combine and the draft, it's obvious that Washington's body has undergone a serious transformation. He's not at all what you would call a "soft" 304, but rather a lean 304 who has the look of an NFL left tackle.

Washington only ran the 40-yard dash and participated in the Pro Agility Drill, and he said his only goal for the day was to improve on his performances from last month's NFL Combine. He did just that as he ran a 5.09 40-yard dash and performed better in the Pro Agility Drill.

"I feel like I've put myself in position to go in the second or third round," Washington said. "The draft will take care of itself, and I understand that. I just want a chance to play in the NFL; it's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I'll play for anybody, I don't really care. I'd play for the Afghanistan Roughriders if there was such a team."

It's unlikely he'll have to go to the Middle East to find a place to play. He already has a visit scheduled for next week in Buffalo with more to come. He also visited with each of the 32 teams in the league at last month's combine and sat down for face-to-face meetings with San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary and Oakland head coach Tom Cable.

"Coach Singletary was a good guy, but very intense," Washington said. "Cable was all football. He told me he didn't care about the other stuff, he just wanted to know about my football background and skill."

And that's likely what most of the 32 teams will want to know about over the next month as they evaluate Washington's ability to move from the NCAA Division II level to the NFL.

"I'm not intimidated about the possibility of playing at the next level," Washington said. "I just look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to prove myself again. I'm looking forward to the next month, finding out where I'm going and getting down to business."

The only team to send a scout was the Dallas Cowboys, whose scout ran the drills. ... Tarleton State wide receiver Devin Guinn and Texas A&M-Commerce linebacker Stephen DeGrate were also in attendance at Pro Day. ... Former Wildcats who participated included Cody Brown, Tony Harp, Craig Harris, Major Culbert, Reggie Mathis, Arthur Johnson, James Peters, Tony Metoyer and Josh Wise. ... Peters popped out 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, while Metoyer completed 38 reps. ... Metoyer is training for Strongman competitions, the first of which is the Ronnie Coleman Classic next week in Plano.

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