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School of hard knocks (cont.)

Posted: Friday March 14, 2008 9:35AM; Updated: Friday March 14, 2008 3:00PM
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By Stewart Mandel, SI.com

Ranked ahead of Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Jarrett coming out of high school, injuries too often slowed down Colvin's college career.
Ranked ahead of Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Jarrett coming out of high school, injuries too often slowed down Colvin's college career.
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Whether he gets that opportunity may depend almost entirely on how he performs at Thursday's Pro Day. Numerous NFL teams are expected to send representatives. Colvin declines to place a "percentage" on the status of his ankle but says he'll be able to participate in all drills.

NFL scouting departments are nothing if not thorough -- these are the same people who unearthed the likes of Steelers star Willie Parker and Bengals tailback Kenny Watson, who were buried on their college depth charts -- so it's not like teams don't know Colvin's name. "There are about seven teams that I personally know are interested in him right now," said Frazier. All will be watching closely Thursday.

"There have been guys who had knock-out pro days and got drafted," said Pauline, citing the case of Ethan Kilmer, a former back-up receiver and special-teams player at Penn State who became a seventh-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals following his impressive Pro Day. "He's going to have to run fast. His injury history is going to be a problem. He's obviously big and stronger than hell, but if the ankle gets red-flagged that's obstacle No. 1."

Even if Colvin goes undrafted, as long as he gets a rookie-camp invite somewhere, Bellotti thinks his former receiver will turn heads. "If and when he gets into a camp, he will excite people," he said. "He's a physical athlete, he can catch and run, he just lacks experience. If he hadn't gotten hurt, he would have caught 50 to 60 balls [last season] and be on everyone's list. Now he's going to have to work for that."

Colvin hopes to show on Pro Day just how hard he's been working. "I don't sleep at night," he said. "I'll get up at 2 a.m. and go running. I have a dream, and it's going to happen."

Colvin estimates he has 20 different tattoos on his body -- each one signifying a different chapter of his life or another person who he's lost. When he runs those all-important four-plus seconds in front of the scouts next Thursday, he'll be running for not only himself but for his parents and for the late Kelly, who himself dreamed of one day making it to the NFL.

"Tragedy can do two things to a person -- it can make you crazy or it can make you stronger," said Colvin. "My tragedy made me stronger."

Those that don't know any better would think he's a little crazy, too.

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