NWI Times: Al Hamnik: NFL Hopefuls Knocking At The Door
AL HAMNIK: Local NFL hopefuls Blue, Freeman & Brown on the doorstep
July 14, 2012 - By Al Hamnik Times Columnist
If only they could rent billboards in each NFL city to plead their case for a look-see by coaches.
Merrillville's Fred Blue, Gary's Terrence Freeman and Portage's Antoine Brown all share impressive traits they'd bring to any franchise. They are extremely confident, good, humble kids who give back to their communities without the chest thumping.
And they've got skills.
Blue starred at North Central College and had a cup of coffee on the San Diego Chargers practice squad.
Freeman attended the Emerson School of Visual and Performing Arts in Gary, played football for Lew Wallace and later at St. Joseph College.
Brown learned about life's hard knocks at Portage, breaking his leg before the 5A sectional championship game with Merrillville, a three-overtime loss, then having his home burn down two months later.
Brian Brundage, CEO of Worldwide Career Management, is driven to see his three athletes realize their NFL dream and is putting together workout videos of each for the Colts, Bears, Bengals, Bucs and Jets in hopes of a training camp invitation later this month.
Those five teams have shown the greatest interest in his clients, Brundage said.
"I'm in tip-top A1 (condition) and have leaned up a little bit," said Blue, an outside linebacker/rush end. "I bring a sense of attitude, enthusiasm and urgency.
"I'm a lot faster and quicker than the average lineman."
A running back/fullback, Freeman didn't play football until eighth grade. He skipped freshman ball at Wallace but was coaxed into coming out as a sophomore.
Forget the 9-19 overall record his three varsity seasons with the Hornets. Freeman was hooked.
"It's like: 'Hey, I'm pretty good at this.' Since then, I fell in love with it," he said.
Brundage compares his quick learner to a taller Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.
"When I get the ball in my hands, I kinda turn into another person," Freeman said. "Some of the stuff I do on the field ... after I watch it on film, it's like: 'Wow. I did that?'
"I go into my own world. I don't really see anything. I don't hear anything. It's all just tunnel vision going into the end zone."
Brown walked on at Kentucky, and then transferred to Indiana State on scholarship. His college career didn't set off fireworks and sirens but his love for the game never waned.
"A sickening work ethic that a lot of people don't have these days," he said of his approach to life.
The versatile running back/wide receiver credits two books -- "Mind Gym" and "How To Get Out Of Your Own Way" -- for helping him stay positive.
"I've been praying every night since I was in high school that I would get bigger, stronger and faster so I'd be able to play in the NFL," Brown said.
"Finally, I have an opportunity to make this dream a reality."
Blue, Freeman and Brown know it takes only one NFL coach or assistant to like them for a door to open.
Their workout videos may be the loud knock that's needed.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.