Adrian Clayborn pictured the day when he’d walk across the stage at the NFL draft, shake the commissioner’s hand and put on the cap of the team that selected him.
The former Iowa defensive end accepted an invitation Tuesday to make that a reality when he became one of the first players to publicly announce his intention to be in attendance on April 28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York when the draft begins.
“I don’t think I’ll fit in the cap, but I’ll hold the jersey up,” Clayborn said Tuesday night. “You can’t pass that up. The guys that have done it loved it.”
But this wasn’t an offer that Clayborn accepted on the spot. He said he received the invitation Saturday morning. He announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he was headed to the draft.
Clayborn’s decision could have been complicated by the NFL lockout, but he said the labor dispute didn’t factor into his thinking.
Reports surfaced earlier in the month that the NFL Players Association was discouraging prospects from attending the draft and planning an event of its own. But the players association announced Monday on its web site that the “2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut” will not conflict with the evening broadcasts of the NFL Draft on April 28-29.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah Tweeted on Monday: “NFLPA is not asking players or agents to boycott the NFL draft.”
Clayborn said he also plans to attend the NFLPA Rookie Debut.
“It’s important that I’m going to be in the union,” Clayborn said. “But those guys understand it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Clayborn, an All-Big Ten defensive end during his junior and senior seasons with the Hawkeyes, is projected as a first-round pick. ESPN’s Todd McShay has Clayborn going 24th overall to the New Orleans Saints in his latest mock draft. The National Football Post has Clayborn going 27th to the Atlanta Falcons.
“I’ve talked to a lot of teams,” Clayborn said. “You never know. So many teams I’ve talked to. It’s hard to get a feel for which team really likes you.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football