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Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Counting down to Pro Day

By Ashley Lelie with Wayne Drehs
Special to

Eighty degrees. Low Humidity. Not a cloud in the sky. Yes, it's great to finally be back home in Hawaii.

The flight here from Atlanta was a long one, but it gave me some time to think about all that's ahead in March. Because I didn't workout at the combine, this is the month where I have to prove to the NFL's decision makers that I can be a big-time receiver at that level.

Making the Leap 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.

  • March 3: Diary
  • March 2: Diary
  • March 1: Diary
  • Feb. 28: Workout wonders | Diary
  • Feb. 21: Combine prep | Diary
  • Feb. 14: Meet Lelie | Diary

    Send in your questions and Lelie will answer a few every week.
    Ashley answers:
  • March 13
  • Feb. 28
  • Feb. 21
  • I'll get my first chance next Tuesday, in a one-on-one workout with the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City offensive coordinator Al Saunders called me and my agent on Monday to express further interest in my abilities and set up a personalized, individual workout.

    Coach Saunders and receivers coach Charlie Joyner want to see me run some routes and catch some balls that are more tailored to their offense than the one we ran at Hawaii. They also want to take me to dinner and get to know me a little bit better. I can't complain about that. So we're going to meet in L.A. and get better acquainted.

    At this point, the Chiefs are the first team that really has shown a serious interest in me, and I can't begin to explain to you how exciting this is. They have the ninth pick in the draft and have designated receiver as a draft priority. I guess Coach Saunders and head coach Dick Vermeil are installing the high-octane Rams offense in Kansas City but need some extra guns at receiver to do so successfully.

    If you ask me, it's a great fit. My agent said that if I impress them in my workout on Tuesday and then back it up with another strong workout on my pro day March 25, then I'll be a Chief on draft day.

    But I can't get too far ahead of myself. For all the excitement I have bottled up inside, I've heard way too many stories about players who were convinced they were headed to one team, but then were passed up and sent to another. And I know the Chiefs have said that help on the defensive line is just as important as at receiver. So I'm doing my best not to get too up or too down on any team until the phone rings on April 20.

    As for my hamstring, which you might remember I strained the week before the combine, it's starting to get back to 100 percent. I've been taking it easy and trying to rest the leg since I've been in Hawaii, and it has paid off. I should be ready to go by Tuesday's workout without a problem.

    I've been trying to picture the workout and figure it will be a pretty relaxed, laid-back environment. Coach Saunders is going to throw some balls, Coach Jones is going to critique me, and that's going to be about it. Some might think the one-on-one setting would add nerves, but I think I'll perform a little better in more personal surroundings than in a big group. Especially since I got to know Coach Saunders a little bit at the combine.

    In other news, I got a giant shipment of free gear from Timberland last week. I guess they work with Octagon to have athletes seen wearing their gear, so they sent me a bunch of stuff -- shoes, boots, sweaters, everything. They're real nice. It's like their new rugged line or something. Stuff I can wear out at night. Nice going out clothes.

    I'm still training, closely adhering to the rubber band workout that my trainer Chip Smith gave me when I left Atlanta. But mainly, my focus now is on route running and catching the ball. I've been working mostly with my roommate, Jared Flint since I've been here. On Thursday, my college quarterback, Nick Rolovich will be in town, so I'll start working with him.

    Nick's the guy who's going to throw to me on my pro day, which should be a blast. He's a good friend of mine. We had a great connection in college, and I hope he gets a chance in the NFL. He's a heck of a quarterback.

    In addition to the workout with the Chiefs on Tuesday and my pro day in L.A. less than a week later, I have another mini pro-day of sorts on March 22 for the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars.

    That workout, as well as the one for the Chiefs, should help me get ready for the big pro day. My agent said he's heard from just about every NFL team and expects about 20-25 teams to be represented. And not just by scouts, but by head coaches and general managers.

    So it's going to be quite a month, a month that I'm greatly looking forward to, especially after not performing in Indianapolis.

    In the mean time, it's more training, more pass catching, more video games and a little more time at the beach.

    After all, this is Hawaii.