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Friday, April 25, 2008

Derek Fine needs a job - and has one in mind

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Derek Fine left Lawrence. Not by choice, but because he had a burning desire to continue living.

"I completely ran out of money," said Fine, a former Kansas University football player. "I called home and said, 'Mom, I've done my best. I have nothing left, and I'm coming home.'"

Somebody needs a job.

That's precisely what Fine has been training for since finishing up his KU career in January - a gig in professional football. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end is hoping to be a second-day selection in the NFL Draft, and all that work the last three months preparing to impress scouts left him broke.

Call it an unpaid internship.

So he's in his native Sallisaw, Okla., working out on his own and anticipating this weekend's draft. He has heard the best-case scenario of being a mid-round draft pick, but at the very least he expects to get a chance somewhere.

"Anything can happen with the draft," Fine said. "I'm really just trying to lay back and let everything take place and just get ready for whatever rookie camp I end up going to."

Evaluators see a future for Fine, though it would have to be in an offense that can use his specific strengths. NFL.com, the league's official Web site that offers biographies on most prospects, is high on Fine's potential.

"A guy who can pick up blitzes, chip on defensive ends, cancel linebackers at the second level and move the chains in the passing game is very valuable," the Web site writes. "Fine has the ability to be just that type of player, and will likely be selected earlier than most expect."

Several teams have been in touch with Fine, with the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars showing the most interest.

"I think that my strength would be me fitting into the right team and the right system," Fine said. "A team where I can be versatile and they can use me for my strengths like my blocking. My blocking is one of my bigger strengths in my entire game - that and special teams. That's what's really going to carry me."

Fine is heading to Tulsa, Okla., on Sunday to his brother's house. That's where he will watch the second day of the draft and hang out with his family, which is scattered across Oklahoma.

It has been a long time coming. After Kansas won the Orange Bowl in January, Fine spent a month in Denver training. He tested well at the NFL Combine and at KU's Pro Day and, with a degree in hand, since has taken on odd jobs to pass the time.

"I've just been trying to pay the bills," Fine said.

He might get a boost soon enough.

Comments

William James 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes! Get er done Fine, it aint gonna be the same here next year.

number1jayhawker 12 years, 9 months ago

One of our all-time favorite players. Good luck Derek!

JBurtin 12 years, 9 months ago

If he doesn't make it in the NFL. Perhaps he can cut off his hands and sell them to Tanner Hawkinson. We could defintely use them next year.I'm gonna miss that guy.The Patriots or Bears would make a good fit for him.Good luck Derek!

prairie_dog 12 years, 9 months ago

He will fit very well with a gritty, tough football team, eg Bears, Steelers, Pats, Chargers, Bucs.He would not fit with the Chiefs. Nobody fits with Carl.

kansaspike 12 years, 9 months ago

How many balls did he drop last year? Remeber the KSU game debacle in the endzone?Seems like a good guy, but those drops have to be obvious to any NFL scout.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 9 months ago

I could handle the Jaguars ... good luck, Mr. Fine!

jhawklifer 12 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I don't want Fine's hands anywhere near our 2008 'Hawks, as I also recall several key drops. But I bet he can shore up that weakness some with a little NFL supervision, and his non-pass catching skills do seem to be pro-quality.

bmcmich1 12 years, 9 months ago

Take it easy on D Fine--I can recall two good catches for every drop, some with two or three defenders draped on him. I will give you all the fact that some of his drops were in the end zone, so those may tend to stick in the ol' memory a little better. Best of luck to him in the future, NFL or no NFL...

CasperCorps 12 years, 9 months ago

Has been one of my favorites since two years ago in the spring game.. He was just number 85 to me then.. These kids grow fast.. Good luck buddy...

JBurtin 12 years, 9 months ago

You've got to be kidding me!What the hell Derek Fine was everyone else watching!Sure he dropped a couple of easy ones in his career, so has every other friggin' wide receiver, running back, tight end, and defensive back that has ever played the game. Anybody that would say Derek Fine doesn't have good hands is a complete and utter retard!I don't know anything about making and editing videos but somebody seriously needs to make a highlight reel to show all the miraculous catches this guy made in his career. It's unbelievable to me that anybody would have failed to notice how many one handed grabs and amazing catches he made. I can't think of a single game that we actually lost because of him missing an easy catch, and even if I could, I could name twice as many games that we won because of great catches that he made.Ridiculous.

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