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CHANDLER CHERISHES CHOICE

Posted by craigkelleycolts on April 25, 2013 – 2:42 pm

What’s in a name?  Sometimes nothing at all.

The 253rd choice of the 2012 draft was the final one.  For years, the player taken with the last pick has been dubbed, “Mr. Irrelevant.”

It is a program now that is part of the landscape, part of draft lore.

It will apply to an Indianapolis Colt Saturday night just like it did a year ago when Chandler Harnish was spared the undrafted free agency route into the NFL by being selected by his favorite team.

He felt anything but irrelevant.

“Just getting the call (from the Colts),” said Harnish of what was memorable about last year’s draft.  “It was the worst day of my life going into that seventh round.  When I finally got the call at the end, it turned out to be the best day.”

The Bluffton native and product of Norwell High School threw for 68 touchdowns and almost 9,000 yards at Northern Illinois.

He was the first quarterback to lead NIU to four bowl games, and he was the second quarterback taken by the Colts in the draft.

Being the last pick meant a big difference from not being taken at all.

“I think you look at it emotionally, mentally and financially.  There is some difference,” said Harnish.  “For me, it was mentally, because I would have felt like I let people down if I weren’t drafted.  I know no one ever thought that, but I had the goal set in my mind.

“It didn’t matter what round, I just wanted to get drafted.  To make family and friends proud was kind of the cherry on top.”

Harnish spent the first five games last year on the active roster, then finished the balance of the season on the practice squad.  He is one of three quarterbacks – Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck – now on the roster.

Harnish will welcome the final pick in this year’s draft just as he was made to feel at home with the Colts, his favorite team growing up.

“I’m going to try to be his personal mentor (laughs).  It will be fun,” said Harnish.  “I’m going to tell him to have fun with (being Mr. Irrelevant).  There will be people making jokes.  Just go out and don’t worry about what people are saying.  Try to prove them wrong.

“I think it’s a measure of motivation.  He’ll be a guy I try to connect with right away.  It’s still an incredible honor to get drafted.”


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