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Friday, March 1, 2002
Updated: March 2, 10:30 AM ET
Combine keeps prospects extremely busy

By Ashley Lelie with Wayne Drehs
Special to ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- A long, long day. That's the only way I can describe my first 18 hours of the combine experience. I got on an airplane in Atlanta at 6 a.m. Friday morning and didn't stop until my head hit the pillow early Saturday morning.

Making the Leap
ESPN.com is following wide receiver Ashley Lelie on his journey from the University of Hawaii to the NFL. Lelie is writing a weekly diary, and we will file regular reports on the steps a prospect takes in preparation for the NFL draft on April 20.

Send in your questions and Lelie will answer a few every week.

  • Ashley answers: Feb. 21 | Feb. 28
  • Feb. 14: Meet Lelie | Diary
  • Feb. 21: Combine prep | Diary
  • Feb. 28: Workout wonders | Diary
  • I knew this was going to be a long weekend of meeting a ton of people and undergoing a bunch of tests, but I never imagined this. It's been crazy. After arriving at the airport (Friday) morning, they shuttled us to the hotel, then on to a local hospital, where we underwent an X-ray and EKG and a blood test.

    After that, we were free to meet with coaches, scouts and GMs from various teams. I only had a couple of specific appointments scheduled, but ended up meeting with about 12 different teams, including the Lions, Patriots, Cowboys, 49ers, Jaguars, Giants, Falcons, Steelers, Panthers, Packers, Texans and Browns.

    Believe it or not, and I'm telling the truth here, nothing really stuck out with any of them. It just seemed like one big blur. I mean, it was cool to meet some of the coaches and general managers I had seen on TV for so long, but other than that it wasn't a big deal.

    Even though I was nervous about meeting these teams, everything turned out great. They asked me questions like, "Are you a team leader?" and "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Typical job interview stuff. My agent told me just to be myself, don't play any games and I'd be just fine. So that's what I did and it worked out.

    Of all the teams I met, the Jaguars seemed to show some interest, making sure they had the correct day for my pro workout so that they could be on hand. Other than that, nothing really stuck out. All the teams seem to show some interest.

    One guy that I really clicked with and really liked was Green Bay coach Mike Sherman. He seemed like a great coach to play for -- real laid back, down-to-earth personality. He seemed cool.

    The other big news of the day, I guess, is the soreness in my hamstring. I tweaked it a bit this week and right now I'd say it's about 80-percent. It's the type of thing where, when I open my stride, it tightens up on me. And I'm real scared of ripping it when I run and doing some serious damage. So if it doesn't get to 100 percent by Sunday, when I'm scheduled to run the 40-yard dash, I'm not going to run.

    I was telling the teams that today and they were joking with me and giving me a hard time. "Awe, come on man, you just don't want to run here," they said. But they're just kidding. A couple teams told me that if it doesn't feel right that I should sit out, play it cool and rest up for my pro workout day on March 20.

    But I've got about 36 hours to see what will happen.

    Until then, the schedule is booked. On Saturday, myself and the rest of the receivers head over the RCA Dome for our physicals. We're going to be poked and prodded by the physician for just about every team. And I'm sure with this hamstring thing, they're going to take a good look at me.

    Besides that, there are meetings with a few other teams, an orientation from the NFL and then -- I'm hoping -- a little down time, 'cause this schedule is running me ragged. I haven't had a chance to stop for a good bite to eat or check in with buddy Antwaan Randle El. Nothing. It's just been constant motion. Which, I guess, is the reason why I'm here.