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Archive for Monday, April 28, 2008

Rams sign McAnderson to free-agent deal

April 28, 2008

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With the 252nd and final pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select :

It didn't matter.

Kansas University running back and Lawrence High product Brandon McAnderson didn't have to sweat out becoming this year's Mr. Irrelevant, the fabled name given to the final pick of the NFL Draft.

By the time the Rams made the last pick, McAnderson knew he was headed to St. Louis as a free agent.

"They called even before the draft was over," said McAnderson, who agreed to a deal with St. Louis less than an hour after the Rams made Idaho linebacker David Vobora the last pick. "They were one of the only teams that offered me a contract, and I absolutely had to take it."

Signing as an undrafted free agent gives McAnderson a better opportunity - both financially and in terms of making the squad - but the running back who became known for his cool, calm demeanor while at KU admitted he was anxious as the final round wound down.

"I've never really been that nervous," McAnderson said. "That side of me that wanted to be drafted was speaking very loudly. But I'm very excited to get such a good opportunity. All of the pieces sort of fell into place."

And with that, McAnderson adds his name to John Hadl, Jeff Wright and Keith DeLong, all former Lawrence Lions who carved out a career in the NFL.

McAnderson said it was an honor to be included on such a list, but added that he has a long way to go before he proves he belongs.

"It feels familiar," he said. "I wasn't unrecruited (out of high school) but coming to KU there were no expectations for me. And now, I'm going into a situation where they want me, but there are no expectations for me. I can just go out there and be me."

LHS football coach Dirk Wedd, who was among the first to receive the news from McAnderson, said he expected that to be enough.

"He'll make it hard for them not to want him to be a part of their football team," Wedd said.

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Omon drafted: Running back Xavier Omon, who played youth football in Lawrence alongside McAnderson, was drafted Sunday by the Buffalo Bills. Omon, who moved to Nebraska before high school, was a sixth-round selection out of Northwest Missouri State.

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No deal yet: As of late Sunday night, KU defensive tackle James McClinton had not agreed to a free-agent deal.

"We're talking to some NFL teams," said Kevin Robinson, McClinton's agent.

Sports reporter Ryan Wood contributed to this report.

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