Everyone loves an underdog, a comeback story, watching a transformation form zero to hero. This nuance of human nature inspired former NFL wide receiver Paul Salata to found the "Mr. Irrelevant" award and accompanying week-long celebration in 1976 -- an award to honor the final pick in the NFL Draft. Mr. Salata hosts the gentleman for a week in Southern California after the draft where the pick is treated to gifts, a trip to Disneyland and other events in a roast-like format, playfully poking fun at the situation while offering encouragement.
This year's lucky winner, Chetachi "Cheta" Ozougwu, which ironically is Nigerian for "Remember God," is a wide-smiling outside linebacker from Rice University. The Daily offers an in-depth look at Ozougwu's recent journey:
Salata's event culminates with the presentation of the Lowsman Trophy, a trophy resembling the Heisman award given yearly to college football's best player. The only exception is that the player modeled in the Lowsman is in the process of fumbling the ball.
It's a challenging road ahead for Mr. Ozougwu, as most late draftees never make it in the NFL. But, as the Daily points out, he can find encouragement from past Mr. Irrelevants Marty Moore ('94) and David Vobora ('08) who eventually became starters, and kicker Ryan Succop ('09) who tied a league record for the highest field goal percentage by a rookie in a single season.
And then there's Tom Brady. In the 2000 draft, Brady didn't come off the board until the end of the sixth round. He's gone on to win three Super Bowls. Likewise, two-time champ James Harrison went undrafted in 2002.