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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Face of the lockout: Shaun Chapas

By Todd Archer

 Shaun Chapas
Fullback Shaun Chapas, who was drafted in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys, is waiting for the lockout to end to join his new teammates. Said Chapas: "I think it will get worked out, right?"


IRVING, Texas -- When the Cowboys picked Shaun Chapas in the seventh round, he had certain visions of what the NFL life would be like.

Roughly a month after the Georgia fullback was selected, he is still waiting for that life to begin thanks to the NFL lockout.

“I don’t know any better because I haven’t done it before,” Chapas said. “It’s kind of a different year. I’m looking forward to it getting going.”

For the past three weeks, Chapas has been working out four days a week at The Factory in Atlanta with about a dozen other players either already in the NFL or in the same state of limbo as he is. Seattle quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has taken Chapas and some wide receivers and tight ends, such as Ben Hartsock of the New York Jets, to area high schools for on-the-field workouts.

They are already at their third high school in as many weeks.

“We’ve become nomads, just having to beg high schools to let us work out,” Chapas said.

Chapas exchanged email with Tony Romo about attending the Cowboys’ player-run workouts in May but said “the logistics of it made it difficult. We’re going to wait a little on that.”

As the 220th overall pick, Chapas is not a guarantee to make the 53-man roster, although the Cowboys have only one fullback, Chris Gronkowski. In a normal offseason, Chapas would have had a rookie minicamp and at least two weeks of organized team activities by now to get him up to speed on the offense.

Because of the lockout, Chapas does not have a playbook and has relied mostly on what he learned during his visit with the Cowboys at the NFL scouting combine and the quick conversation he had with head coach Jason Garrett and running backs coach Skip Peete after he was picked.

His best hope of seeing the Cowboys' offense is to catch a rerun of a game on NFL Network.

“If I catch one, I’m definitely going to watch it,” Chapas said.

He already has been to Cowboys Stadium for a game. His roommate at Georgia was Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, a Highland Park grad. The Cowboys won 35-19 on Nov. 21, but Stafford did not play because of a shoulder injury.

“I was with some of his buddies from high school, and his parents asked me, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could play here?’” Chapas said. “I was thinking that would be awesome, but I wasn’t really thinking about being a Cowboy at the time. But it sure crossed my mind.”

Now that chance is tantalizingly close but also so far away. For now, Chapas shows up for workouts at The Factory and hopes a high school will allow him and his friends to throw some passes.

“I’ll talk to friends, and they’ll ask the same basic question: When are you going to Dallas?” Chapas said. “I have to tell them I really don’t know because we’re just waiting. I think it will get worked out, right?”