If you were ever the last player picked for a team on the playground during your childhood, you know it was not a position to be celebrated.
The team that picked you was “stuck” with you, and you’d have to fight through wearing the stigma attached with it.
In pro football, being the last player selected in the NFL Draft now carries its own brand of prestige, one that Arizona Cardinals rookie tight end Gerald Christian knows all too well.
Christian was the 256th and final player drafted by the Cardinals back in May, a distinction which earned him the moniker of ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ — which now comes with a week’s worth of celebration, including a parade and a trip to Disneyland — in Southern California.
Christian’s Mr. Irrelevant experience is behind him and the former Louisville Cardinal wants to get back to reality.
“Now, I’m ready to get back to football,” Christian told Doug and Wolf Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I had fun with it, but I’m ready to get back to ball.
“I’m working right now just like everybody else is, but I’m ready to get back to ball.”
Christian, who caught 32 passes for 384 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns in 2014, didn’t expect to have to wait so long to hear his name called during draft weekend.
“Yeah, I did expect to be drafted. Going through it, I was a little disappointed on draft day — I was very disappointed, actually,” he said. “At the end of the day, I was happy and appreciative that somebody did pick me. It gives me an extra chip on my shoulder to go out there and prove everybody wrong.”
The next step for Christian is training camp, which begins July 31, and represents another opportunity for him to catch the coaching staff’s eye. The rookie is part of a very inexperienced tight end group which also includes 2014 second-round pick Troy Niklas and former basketball player Darren Fells.
“I feel I’m very versatile and I can bring a lot of value to the team,” Christian said. “I’ll play special teams right now and make some tackles. I don’t have a problem lining up at the Y and the H and I like to move around.
“I’ll line up at the fullback, I’ll do lead blocking. I can do a lot of different things to the table.”