Getting to travel with teammates Kris Durham and Shaun Chapas to New York City to see buddy Matthew Stafford get taken with the first pick in last weekend's NFL Draft was an experience that fullback Fred Munzenmaier says he will never forget.
"We were following him around all over the place. I hope we didn't look too pitiful," Munzenmaier laughed. "But no, we had a great time and we appreciated him letting us be there with him."
Although the three had to pay their own way to the Big Apple per NCAA rules, Munzenmaier said he would not have missed the trip for anything.
The three arrived in New York approximately 12:30 Friday afternoon, but got to spend time with Stafford and his family later that evening.
Munzenmaier, Chapas and Durham were with Stafford when he received the news that his contract with Detroit - including a guaranteed $41.7 million - was finalized.
"We were with him when he found out and we saw a big expression of relief come over him," Munzenmaier said. "He's obviously been enjoying the whole process, but it had gotten a little stressful. I was happy to see that he was finally able to breath with all that stress off his shoulders."
According to Munzenmaier, Stafford returned to Athens after spending Sunday in Detroit. He returned to the Motor City Thursday morning for the Lions' rookie orientation that begins Friday morning.
Stafford will briefly return to Athens once the orientation is complete.
"Despite all that's happened for him, when he came back (Monday) there was nothing different. We hung out just like before," Munzenmaier said. "We went to the same restaurant, played the same video games, stuff like that. Nothing's changed for him yet, although I'm sure his life will soon take that turn to the next phase. But he's a good guy. He's handled it well and it is great knowing that he'll always be our buddy."
Sturdivant says he's ready for contact
The smile on Trinton Sturdivant's face told the story. He's back.
It's been almost nine months since tearing up his knee during a scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, Sturdivant said Thursday that he's been given the thumbs up to begin contact from team trainer Ron Courson.
"I asked him and he told me if we were having practice during May that I would be able to hit," Sturdivant said. "I can't wait."
Sturdivant, who will go home for a week once final exams are complete next week, will return to Athens for further treatment on the knee before the official start of the summer workout program in June.
The North Carolina native admits there will be a tiny bit of apprehension in regards to that first contact, but it's nothing that he can't overcome.
"I think that will come with my dedication over the summer. I've got to get back to the speed of the game, to recognize where the linebackers are going to play against this front, where the blitz is coming from. I know all that but until I actually go out there and to do it full speed it's going to be a challenge. But that's something I'm going to face this summer."
This and that
Linebacker Darryl Gamble said that after his last final exam next Friday he will fly up to Huntington, W.Va. to see his older brother Philip Gamble graduate from Marshall. Philip Gamble lettered three years for the Thundering Herd and last year collected 26 tackles with three sacks.
Marcus Washington said he wouldn't mind seeing time as rush end if coaches see fit this fall. Washington collected three sacks during the G-Day game, as he and Gamble both saw time at the position.
Linebacker and former Brookwood standout said he will spend part of the upcoming month speaking to youngsters at various schools in and around Gwinnett County. "I just want to go back and try to motivate some high school kids," Curran, a former standout at Brookwood said. Curran joked that even the coaches at rival Parkview might let him in the door. "Oh yeah, I know Cecil Flowe (Parkview coach) and all those guys. It's not much of a rivalry now that I'm gone," Curran said. "I just love being over there, trying to affect other kids. I know how it was growing up there, having a dream, especially to come here, things like that."
Defensive tackle [db]Jeff Owens said he's not sure at what point he'll cleared for contact. "I'm not sure," Owens said. "I'm just going to keep taking it one day at a time, and take my game to a whole other level."
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