Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Clausen, Floyd connect on pro day
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- For at least one day this spring, Notre Dame's four-man quarterback battle took a backseat to a familiar face inside the Loftus Sports Center.
Jimmy Clausen was back on campus Tuesday, throwing to Michael Floyd as the record-breaking Irish wide receiver performed in front of NFL coaches and executives during the school's pro day.
"He was training out in California in Orange County about an hour and a half from where I live, so we were connecting halfway in between in California for about a week and a half," Clausen said of Floyd. "And then I got out here on Sunday morning and we threw Sunday, threw [Monday] a little bit and just came out today."
Floyd's quarterback during his first two years at Notre Dame, Clausen hooked up with the likely first-round draft pick 92 times for 1,514 yards and 16 scores during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Floyd finished his college career atop the Irish record books in receptions (271), touchdown receptions (37), and receiving yards (3,686). He was also Notre Dame's 10th two-time MVP, in 2010 and 2011.
Floyd said he asked Clausen to visit and throw to him for Tuesday's event.
"I had a good relationship with him, and I knew he would come back for me, to throw to me," Floyd said. "And he got the opportunity to make his dream come true and be in the NFL, and I just wanted his help to make me get to the top."
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and general manager Phil Emery, along with Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, were among the notable names in attendance to watch the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Floyd.
Eight other former Notre Dame players worked out as well.
Floyd's three alcohol-related run-ins with the law while in school have been a source of questioning during his interviews with NFL executives, but he said he has learned from his mistakes, and grown accustomed to answering questions about them.
He said he already has his suit picked out the April 26 draft -- gray, with a purple shirt and black socks, he added with a smile -- and he plans to be in New York for it.
"I just wanna be picked; this is a goal of mine," Floyd said. "It's been a dream since I was in third grade when I first started, just to play in the NFL. It's a blessing to be there in this position right now from what I've been through, and I'm just grateful that I'm in this position."
Floyd and Harrison Smith, who has an outside chance of being selected in the first round as well, participated only in position drills, content with their numbers from February's combine in Indianapolis.
There, Floyd ran a 4.47 40, and his name has popped up on draft boards as early as the seventh pick, which belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"He's gonna do great," Clausen said. "He's a competitor, he works hard -- one of the hardest guys that I've seen work. Just to have his mentality and his skill set, he's gonna fit in [the NFL] really well."