Sometimes it pays to finish last. Just ask former Weber State wide receiver Tim Toone. Shortly after the Lions called him on April 24 with the news that he was the 255th and final pick of the 2010 NFL draft, Toone was contacted by a woman named Melanie Fitch from Newport Beach, Calif. Fitch asked if Toone would like to be the guest of honor at a four-day bash known as Irrelevant Week. "She told me I'd be treated like a king for a few days," says Toone, a dreadlocked 25-year-old former Mormon missionary who is the Wildcats' career leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. "I said, 'I'll be there!'"
Irrelevant Week is the brainchild of Fitch's dad, Paul Salata, a former USC wide receiver who rode the bench in the NFL in 1949 and '50. "I always thought of football as a team sport," says Salata, "but the media gives most of the attention to the quarterbacks and the first picks." So when Dayton receiver Kelvin Kirk was chosen 487th and dead last by the Steelers in 1976, Salata threw him a party. In 35 years Irrelevant Week has raised more than $1 million for local charities, and several Mr. Irrelevants have gone on to unlikely NFL success, including last year's "winner," Ryan Succop, who set an NFL rookie kicking record with the Chiefs.
Among the activities Toone can anticipate when he arrives in Newport Beach on June 30 are a regatta, a visit to Disneyland (including Toontown, of course) and a banquet at which he'll be presented the Lowsman Trophy and roasted by sports celebrities, including UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow and former USC fullback Sam (Bam) Cunningham. Toone also will be honored at an Angels game, where he'll drag the infield after the third inning. Says Fitch, "Throwing out the first pitch would be too relevant."