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Thursday, April 4, 2002
Time flies with draft approaching

By Ashley Lelie with Wayne Drehs
Special to

I went to see a trainer last week and my initial thoughts were confirmed: my pro day injury to my hamstring was just a strain. It wasn't torn or pulled, just strained. So that's good news.

I spent the last week in San Francisco and I'm seeing trainer Thomas Weatherspoon. He told me that with the proper mix of treatment, work and rest, my hamstring can be back to 100 percent in a few weeks.

The last time this happened, just before the combine, pretty much all I did was sit around and rest my leg. But I'm told that doesn't heal the hamstring properly. So with the guidance of Tim, I'm doing some leg lifts, pool work, light jogging, stuff like that. I'm also getting regular massages, heat treatments and ice downs to help the leg heal.

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.
  • April 9: Live chat w/Lelie, 4:30 ET
  • March 26: Workout day | Diary
  • March 25: Hidden gems | Diary
  • March 20: Diary
  • March 13: Diary
  • 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:
  • April 4
  • March 20
  • March 13
  • Feb. 28
  • Feb. 21
  • None of the work is overly strenuous, but there's enough exercise that the muscle should come back stronger than ever. I chose to see a trainer instead of a doctor because all a doctor can really do is give you pain killers. There's really no right way to examine a muscle. It's up to the person injured to describe how it feels.

    For now, the feeling is much, much better. Each day we push the leg further and further. Already, I've gained a lot of flexibility. A week ago, I would have said my hamstring was about 50 percent. This week, I'd say it's already back to 80 percent.

    My spirits are good, too. I realize that not being able to perform at my pro day will hurt my stock a little bit, but honestly, it doesn't bother me. These are the cards I've been dealt so I have to make the best of them. I've said all along, as long as I still go in the first round, I'll be thrilled on draft day. That's always been my dream. After all, only 32 players will be first-round draft picks this year. And to be in that group would be one of the high points of my young career.

    This weekend, I'm flying to Atlanta to visit with the Falcons and New York to see the Giants. Both teams would be great to play for, with the Falcons having Michael Vick and now Warrick Dunn on offense and the Giants just a year removed from playing in the Super Bowl.

    It will be my first trip to New York and there is a ton of stuff I'd like to see, but I don't know if there's going to be any time for that. I figure I'm probably going to spend most of my time out in Jersey at their complex.

    But what do I know? These are the first recruiting trips I've ever gone on. Coming out of high school, I was barely recruited at all, so I was never really wined and dined by anyone. It's definitely something I'm looking forward to -- especially with how comfortable I feel now during the interview process.

    The Kansas City Chiefs, who are looking for a receiver and had expressed some interest in me, signed free agent Johnnie Morton last week. Morton is a great receiver from the Lions and should fit in real well in Kansas City's offense. But what does that mean for me? Are the Chiefs still interested? Will they look somewhere other than wide receiver in the first round? I have no idea. All these free agent signings and pre-draft positioning certainly means something, but you can't make too much out of it.

    There's always a year that a team will sign or trade for a certain position and then still take that position early in the draft. For all we know, the Chiefs very well could draft another receiver in the first round. They could be planning to let one of their current guys go. Players can't be released until June 1, you know, so you really don't have a strong idea what to expect before the draft. You can't believe the hype.

    Last week, I filmed this EA Sports TV commercial with some of the other top picks. Joey Harrington, Roy Williams and Bryant McKinnie were all there, among others. The commercial was for Madden 2003 and it taught me a lesson: I have no acting skills at all. None. Harrington was a natural. And McKinnie was pretty funny. But I had no skills.

    During the shoot, they filmed us asking Madden if we're worthy to be in the game, which was a little strange because most of us play all the time. Then we had all this position specific stuff, with me talking trash about DBs, and DBs like Roy Williams talking smack about receivers. The spot is supposed to air during the draft and all that weekend during SportsCenter, so it will be interesting to see how it turned out.

    Other than that and my work on my hamstring, I'm just laying low in San Fran. Next week, I'm off to my parent's home in South Carolina, where I'll probably be on draft day.

    I can't believe how quickly that day is approaching. In less than three weeks, I'll know where the next step of my life is going to take me. To be honest, I'm starting to feel the jitters.