NFL Combine: Former Temple star Haason Reddick ready to open eyes

NFL Combine: Former Temple star Haason Reddick ready to open eyes

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a good chance on April 27 that Temple's Haason Reddick will become a first-round pick just across the river from his hometown and in the city where his football career was given new life. 

"It's like I'm living in a dream," Reddick said at the NFL combine Saturday, "and I don't have to wake up."

You'll surely forgive Reddick for getting slightly poetic. His story is one that certainly warrants it. 

Reddick, 22, is from Camden, New Jersey, and went to Haddon Heights High School where he was a really good player; a safety at that time. But injuries to his right knee in his junior and senior seasons kept him off the field and left him without any game tape or hope of playing college football. 

He applied to two schools: Rutgers and Temple. He got into just one. But even then, he didn't think he would be able to play on the Temple football team. It's not that he didn't think he was good enough … it's that he didn't know he would be allowed. 

"I didn't know that you could walk on," Reddick said, retelling the story at his combine media availability Saturday. "I thought my football career was over after high school."

Really, it was just beginning. 

At the time, Reddick's father was "poking around," trying to see if there was any way to get his son on the football team. Luckily a guy named Francis Brown, who was a graduate assistant for the Owls at the time, was a family friend. Brown, who is now the defensive backs coach for Baylor, helped Reddick become a preferred walk-on at Temple. From there, Reddick was buried on the depth chart until Matt Rhule took over the program in 2013. 

Reddick became a contributor and then a starting defensive end before finally earning a scholarship before his redshirt senior season in 2016.  

Within a few short years, Reddick has gone from thinking his football days were over after limping off a high school field to potentially being taken in the first round of the NFL draft. 

"Of course I've seen it," Reddick said of the first-round buzz. "I don't try to pay attention to it, just because you never know what can happen. People rise and fall every day depending on what a team needs or what a team thinks about somebody. It's great to see those things. It's great to see that some people think I'm worthy of being a first-round draft pick. 

"Hopefully come draft time, that's what it is. But until then, I’m going to continue to work hard and approach every day with a dominant approach." 

This is an important week for Reddick, as it is for the other 329 combine participants. Do well and watch the draft stock soar. Mess up and watch it plummet. But if the trend from the last couple of months continues, Reddick will keep climbing up draft boards. 

"I'm very much a Haason Reddick guy," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on a conference call earlier this week. "And if he tests well at the combine, I think he's going to come from nowhere to being, at worst, a second-round pick and perhaps a late first-round pick."

A big step for Reddick came at the Senior Bowl in January. It's there where Reddick was listed as a linebacker and got a chance to show he could play a new position against some of the best competition in the country. He was one of the best players on the field. 

The week in Mobile, Alabama, for the Senior Bowl was an important one for Reddick in his transition to the NFL. While he's lumped with defensive linemen at the combine, he's clearly projected to be a linebacker in the NFL. Some teams view him as an outside linebacker and some an inside. And he likes things about both spots. Ideally, he said, he'll end up with a team that uses him at both. But if he doesn't, it won't be a big deal to him, he said. 

"This whole journey has been nothing but hard work for me," Reddick said. "A lot of people think that because I'm here now, the hard work is over. The hard work for me is not over. I'm going to continue to work hard. I’m going to continue to make sure I have a prosperous career in the NFL."

As of Saturday afternoon, Reddick wasn’t sure if he was going to take part in linebacker and defensive linemen drills Sunday but was more than up for it if he got the chance. 

Reddick is hoping to run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and said he has another bigger goal in mind for himself but wanted to keep it hidden. He said if he reaches the goal everyone will know. 

After all Reddick has overcome, it wouldn't be smart to bet against him. 

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr and general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted the two sides could reach a long-term contract agreement to keep the quarterback with the Raiders before Carr's self-imposed training camp deadline.

Carr was open about how much he wanted to spend his entire career with the organization and after a decade searching for a franchise quarterback the Raiders weren't about to let a player they drafted and developed leave just as he was becoming a star.

So the two sides were able to agree on a five-year, $125 million extension that makes Carr the NFL's richest player, at least temporarily, and won't hinder the team's ability to give its other young stars like AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, receiver Amari Cooper and guard Gabe Jackson new contracts before they hit free agency.

"I think that both sides wanted it to get done," Carr said Friday. "It was two family members just figuring out how to get along, and we did. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not just to take every single dime that we could."

Carr will still get plenty. The $25 million per year in new money is the richest contract ever in the NFL, beating out the $24.8 million a year Andrew Luck got from Indianapolis. That could be surpassed with Detroit's Matthew Stafford and Washington's Kirk Cousins in line for new deals soon.

But Carr is not worried about that and the Raiders are pleased to have the face of their franchise under contract through 2022 as they prepare to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

"From the outset, both sides wanted the deal done, and I felt our guys did a great job getting together and hammering it out," McKenzie said. "We both wanted the same thing. That part was easy. We could tell that Derek wanted to be here. And we let him know, without a doubt, that we wanted him here" (see full story).

NFL: Prosecutors appeal Hernandez's voided murder conviction
BOSTON -- Massachusetts prosecutors on Friday appealed a court ruling that erased former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction in the 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez's conviction in the fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd was voided after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison. Under a long-held Massachusetts legal principle, courts typically erase the convictions of defendants who die before their direct appeals can be heard.

Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III filed an appeal with a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on Friday. He called the rule "archaic" and said it "does not serve the public interest."

"A defendant who commits suicide should not be able to manipulate the outcome of his post-conviction proceedings to achieve in death what he would not be able to achieve in life," Quinn said.

Hernandez's appellate attorneys, John Thompson and Linda Thompson, could not immediately be reached for comment. A message was left at their office in Springfield.

Hernandez took his own life in April days after he was acquitted in a separate, 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The legal principle known as abatement ab initio, or "from the beginning," holds that a conviction should not be considered final until an appeal in the criminal case can determine whether mistakes were made that deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

In their appeal Friday, prosecutors argue that some states have moved away from automatically erasing convictions when defendants die before appeals can be heard. More than a dozen states allow appeals to continue even after death and only dismiss convictions when the appellate court finds that a new trial would have been warranted.

Prosecutors said courts should strike a balance between the rights of defendants and the rights of victims. Lloyd's mother fought back tears after a judge voided Hernandez's conviction in her son's killing.

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The father of former pro-football star Michael Vick has been arrested on charges of being involved in a drug ring.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that federal authorities arrested 55-year-old Michael Dwayne Boddie on Thursday. A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in Newport News alleges that he and 11 others conspired to sell heroin.

Boddie is being held without bond until a Monday detention hearing. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Lawrence Woodward, an attorney who's represented both men over the years, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case beyond the charges.

Vick rose to stardom with the Atlanta Falcons before serving prison time for running a dogfighting operation. He played for the Eagles, Jets and Steelers before announcing his retirement in February.