After hearing unflattering proclamations from the City of Newport Beach and the County of Orange, Green was presented with caps, T-shirts, jerseys, a last will and testament, a three-day survival kit, a personalized blessing from the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and, perhaps least important, the Lowsman Trophy, a bronze statuette of a player fumbling.
The 6-foot, 176-pound Green is a smash-mouth safety who excelled at hit (he broke up 14 passes and had 99 tackles in 1999) and run (he clocked 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash) with 4-7 Northwestern State. "I've dreamed of playing in the NFL," said Green. "Now I have to make the dream reality."
Reality unfolds on July 21, when Chicago's training camp opens. "Mike was the best athlete left on the board," says Mark Hatley, the Bears' head of player personnel. "For a long strider and a high cutter, he's got good hips and feet. I don't know Mike's chances with the Bears yet, but he'll play in the league."
Green's odds look to be a lot shorter than those of Matt Elliott, a center out of Michigan who was a 12th-rounder in 1992 and played four seasons with Washington and Carolina. (The number of rounds has since shrunk to seven.) "Give 100 percent 100 percent of the time," Old No. 336 advised New No. 254. "Coaches appreciate that."
Elliott didn't seem to appreciate the fact that the irrelevant irreverence of Irrelevant Week is succumbing to (dread word) relevance. In the old days, for example, the Beer-can Regatta was untimed, with no starting or finish line. These days it's an actual race.
The golf tournament used to be a worst-ball competition in which ineptitude was rewarded handsomely. Players ^^^_ tackled the course armed only with putters, and they used frozen meatballs, not golf balls. This year the tournament became a sober two-ball scramble. "That stinks," groused Elliott. "The whole idea is supposed to be that your score is irrelevant."
Salata shrugs off the criticism. Besides, he has even less consequential things on his mind, namely a new honor he calls Mr. Out of Luck. "I'm going to ask the last-place Cleveland Browns who they would have drafted in the eighth round," Salata says. "That way I can celebrate the first player nor drafted by the NFL."