Vaught's Views: Lorenzen has a big chance

April 27, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Perhaps it's only fitting that the biggest quarterback in college football is going to the nation's biggest media market.

Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen thought he would be picked during last weekend's National Football League draft. Sure, he knew his weight was a concern to some NFL coaches, but he thought his strong arm and college productivity would at least get his name called somewhere in the draft.

Instead, Lorenzen was left to weigh free agent offers, and it didn't take him long to sign with the New York Giants.

"You have to be excited. It's New York," said Lorenzen. "It's the nation's major media market. That's a big plus for me because that's what I want to do when football is over."


Lorenzen has always been a media darling because of his quick wit, sometimes brutal honesty and constant battle to control his weight, which always seemed to be hovering around the 300-pound mark.

But he can throw a football. He made some uncanny throws during his Kentucky career and many thought that strong left arm would get him drafted.

"Maybe it worked out better that I didn't get drafted because that gave me more options," Lorenzen said.

He felt Bengals had enough quarterbacks

His four best options were Tennessee, Buffalo, New York and Cincinnati. Considering he's from northern Kentucky, the Bengals might have seemed like a natural fit but he felt Cincinnati already had enough quarterbacks. The same for Tennessee, which signed another free agent quarterback Monday.

Lorenzen chose the Giants even though New York clearly got its quarterback of the future when it traded for Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall choice in Saturday's draft.

The Giants are expected to release 31-year-old Kerry Collins, last year's starting quarterback rather than pay him about $9 million to tutor Manning next season.

New York also has Jesse Palmer, the star of reality TV show "The Bachelor" on the roster. There's also been talk that the Giants might make a move to acquire veteran quarterback Kurt Warner, the former two-time NFL Most Valuable Player that St. Louis appears ready to cut, to hold the starting job for a year until Manning is ready to take over.

There will be no Hal Mumme magic

Lorenzen knows all that. He has no false hopes about going to the Giants and winning a starting job. There's not going to be any Hal Mumme magic here to surprisingly elevate Lorenzen to the No. 1 spot like the former UK coach did when he pushed Lorenzen ahead of Dusty Bonner.

No, Lorenzen just wants a chance to compete for a backup, or even third-team, spot on the roster. That might not be impossible, either, because the Giants obviously are not enamored with Palmer and a strong training camp could gain Lorenzen a roster spot.

His first minicamp will be May 6 in New York.

"I've got to learn what I can. Any NFL team has to have at least two good quarterbacks," Lorenzen said. "I just have to show I can be a solid backup and get myself a year to learn and improve even more."

Sounds good, but Lorenzen is also going to have to show he can take weight off - and keep it off. If he can, maybe he'll be a Giant surprise. If not, then his NFL career will not last very long.

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