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NFL Draft '99

Wrestling, anyone?

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Posted: Sunday April 11, 1999 01:48 PM


Click here if you have a question for former BYU offensive lineman John Tait. He'll answer a question or two in each week's diary entry.

All the focus shifts now from the combine to personal workouts. For me, at least, this is a big deal because a lot of teams want to see me because I'm only a junior. Wednesday is my first workout down in Scottsdale, Arizona, with two more scheduled for later this month.

I'm not really sure what the script will be for the workout. My agents have set these up before, and they say that usually one coach or one scout kind of takes over and leads you through the workout. I think I did strong enough at the combine that I won't have to run the 40 again or do much lifting. What they're focusing on now is blocking techniques.

Some of my friends went down to the University of Arizona to see their first workout with scouts and what they did there to give me a feel for what to expect. Every coach is different, though, and I hear that a lot of them want to be different and throw you off-balance, to give you something you don't expect.

I heard that one time at a workout at Nebraska, a scout told a defensive lineman to wrestle him. He just said, "OK, let's wrestle." Guys were looking at each other, wondering what to do, and the scout just grabbed him and next thing you know, they're wrestling. It's crazy, but you hear all sorts of stories like that. I hope nobody asks me to wrestle -- I haven't since my freshman year in high school. I'll try not to hurt anyone.

Draft Mailbag

Given your religion, how difficult of a decision was it for you to decide to play football on Sundays? When did you decide it wasn't an issue to you? -- Brandon Lewis, Mesa, Ariz.

It's different for every person, something they have to address on a personal basis. As I see it, being Mormon doesn't mean you can't play football on Sundays. That may be the way some people interpret their faith, and I understand what is said about keeping the Sabbath a holy day or a day of rest. To me, I see the positive aspects of playing in a game far outweighing the negatives -- the chance to be a role model to people as a professional football player is important to me.

Do you think your mission helped you learn humility? It's my opinion that the more humble players make it farther in the NFL, because they are more willing to work as a team and are willing to put in the time to learn, study film, practice etc. I was just wondering about your view on this. -- Michael Switzer, Buffalo

I don't think "humility" is the right word to use. It seems that as soon as you tell someone how much humility you have, you don't have it. I think of it as being teachable -- knowing that you don't know everything, you're not the best and you can always get better. There are a lot of guys who have humility that haven't gone on missions. I think my mission also gave me two years without any football, and because I missed football a whole lot, I appreciate it a lot more now.

John Tait is expected to be a high first-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft in April. Check back each Tuesday for another draft diary from him at

Related information
Draft Diary with John Tait: Training like cats and dogs
Draft Diary with John Tait: A man on a mission
SI's Peter King: The anatomy of Atwater's new deal
Draft Diary with Donovan McNabb: Turning some heads
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