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April 30, 2011

Mohamed relieved that the Draft is finally over

Being the 189th player selected in the NFL Draft isn't as easy as it sounds -- especially if you're a linebacker that is well known for being active on a football field.

The excruciating agony throughout two days of watching other players being selected can cause a guy to begin feeling unwanted. That was the case for former California linebacker Mike Mohamed.

"Just relief and excitement to have to wait all weekend and then just to finally know, hey you know, somebody's going to pick me. Somebody wants me," answered Mohamed to what was going on in his mind when he got the call from the Denver Broncos. "It was a big relief."

Mohamed stood out for the Bears by putting himself on Cal's all-time tackle list with 340 over his career. After playing in 50 of 51 possible games throughout his five-year career, he waited almost an entire six rounds over three days to be drafted by a former Stanford Cardinal.

John Elway, the former Stanford great, spoke with Mohamed as the Broncos made him their selection.

"It was cool," said Mohamed. "He actually said, 'Imagine a Stanford guy picking a Cal guy.' I thought that was pretty funny."

Going to Denver will allow Mohamed to reunite with his former Cal teammate, Syd'Quan Thompson. The linebacker said he would love to reach out to Thompson, but he needs to get his phone number first.

Reaching out to Thompson might be wise for the rookie, and while he's aware of that wisdom, he's looking forward to seeing a familiar face in a new place.

The new Bronco told reporters via conference call, "I'm certain he's got plenty of advice to give, and it'll be cool having a head start on at least knowing one person on the team."

Going into the draft, Mohamed admitted that he was aware of where teams would likely select him, but it didn't deter him from hoping to be an earlier-round selection.

"I was hoping for the best, hoping for something earlier, but I knew realistically that's about where they had me."

He may have known he'd be drafted, but Mohamed had no idea who would draft him. He was especially surprised that the Broncos were that team. "Just coming from my gut feeling," began Mohamed. "I didn't think they were one of the top teams [who wanted me], but it was a pleasant surprise."

The only time he'd talked with the Broncos' brass or worked out for the team was at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Watching the draft at home with his family, and surely being disappointed with every pick selected that wasn't him, may have felt familiar to Mohamed. Despite leading his team to the CIF section championship game, and semifinals during each of his final two prep seasons, Mohamed wasn't highly recruited by colleges.

Back then, playing in the NFL wasn't even a consideration.

"I was just hoping to play in college, and I guess to defy the odds," Mohamed told reporters before exclaiming, "This is awesome."

It wasn't until his sophomore year at Cal that Mohamed began thinking that an NFL career was a real possibility. Much of that had to do with his teammates.

"I became a regular part of the defense and then just seeing guys that I played with go on to the NFL," told Mohamed of when he began to elevate his goals. "I finally started to think, 'Hey! This might be possible. I might be able to go on and do this.'"

And now, he'll have to come up with some new goals.


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