Rashan Gary skips Michigan pro day drills, already prepping for NFL draft

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Rashan Gary skips Michigan pro day drills, already prepping for NFL draft

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Rashan Gary’s over training for 60-yard shuttles, broad jumps, and three-cone drills. The former Michigan defensive end did that for weeks leading up to the NFL Scouting Combine, and then absolutely aced the test.

Gary’s combine numbers were excellent, record-setting in some respects. His 40-yard dash was lighting quick for someone standing 6-foot-4, 276 pounds, and he showed agility and power at every turn.

Gary saw little use in doing it all over again Friday morning at Michigan’s pro day. He weighed in and then took a spot on the sideline cheering former teammates. His combine measurements and times will stand alone, which is fine by him and most scouting this event.

NFL scouts already know he’s an athletic freak, including some that met with him Friday. Another vertical jump won’t change those thoughts. It was time to turn the page.

“It’s time to get back to football,” Gary said at Michigan’s Schembechler Hall. “I trained hard for all the drills and tests, and I feel like I did what I had to do at the combine. Now I’m focused on playing the game of football and areas where I need to improve.”

There isn’t much left to show at this point. Gary’s game tape is out there for all to see. His combine numbers are, too. That’s why he didn’t break a sweat Friday, exerting himself only during his takeover of the NFL’s Instagram account. He put the phone down after the well-attended session wrapped, stood before a wall of Michigan greats, hoping he’s the next Wolverine to star in the NFL.

Gary hadn’t been to Ann Arbor, Mich. in some time, training for the combine down south. He enjoyed a relatively quick return to Michigan and the opportunity to catch up with old friends and bask in the school’s great tradition.

“My fingerprint still works (to get in the building), so I guess they haven’t kicked me out yet,” Gary said with a smile. “I’m happy to be back and reminiscing about all the good memories I made here the past few years.”

Physically, he’s already prepping for rookie minicamp for an undetermined team.

“I’m stuck in grind mode,” Gary said. “I’ll get back down to Texas (at former Olympian Michael Johnson’s training complex) and start preparing for rookie minicamp. I won’t think about the draft until the day it gets here when I’m waiting for my phone to ring and ready to put on a new hat.”

The cap’s logo and color scheme will become clear shortly after the NFL Draft begins on April 25. Gary’s expected to be a top 10 pick, believing full well he’s the No. 1 prospect in this draft. He’s scheme versatile. He can play anywhere, do it all well.

The exact selection won’t change his confidence and frankly isn’t the most important thing to a physically imposing, yet soft-spoken guy who has trained most of his life for an NFL opportunity.

“I just want to go to the perfect fit for me,” Gary said. “I want to play for a team who likes me for me and what I can bring to the table. I just want the opportunity to play football man, to strap that helmet and pads back on and go play. The team that drafts me is going to get someone always pushing to be great. When I say that, I mean Pro Bowls and Super Bowls and the Hall of Fame. That’s the mindset I have. I’m going to strive and push until I get there.”

[RELATED: Raiders draft target Gary should shine at combine]

Convincing NFL teams that is the only thing left at this stage, Gary is letting potential employers in a bit, to show them what he stands for. That will happen during in-depth official visits to NFL teams. He has a long schedule ahead, including stops with the Raiders and 49ers and several other teams picking near the top of the NFL draft.

“People want to find out what makes me tick, and my knowledge of the game,” Gary said. “It’s about them learning who I am and what I can bring to the table and how they can help me be the best player I can be. I want to be great.”

How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway


How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway

Nnamdi Asomugha finds himself under a new set of bright lights. The former Raiders star cornerback, who ended his 11-year NFL career with the 49ers, now finds himself on Broadway

"I started the decade at the Pro Bowl, and I ended the decade on Broadway," Asomugha said in a recent interview with CBS' Dana Jacobson, which aired Friday. "I was like, 'This was really surreal.' This is not a dream that I ever had. And now, this is so clearly what I should be doing." 

Asomugha, now 38 years old, first dabbled in the entertainment business while still playing in the NFL. Towards the end of his career, he started working as a part-time NFL analyst when Jacobson worked at ESPN. He also did a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods in 2009, and the director gave him words of encouragement regarding his acting skills. 

The three-time Pro Bowler said he started thinking about his post-playing career long before he was done playing football. He saw early on just how quickly your career can end. 

"You better start thinking about that long before you finish your career," Asomugha said. "I mean, I started noticing really my first year in the NFL that you can go down with an injury, your career can be over. You can get cut within moments. And then what are you gonna do?" 

The Cal product soon turned his focus to acting and producing. He said he "was a rookie again" and took acting classes.

Asomugha now has a long list of credits when looking at his IMDB page. The former football star was the executive producer for Netflix's "Beasts of No Nation" in 2015, and he starred in Amazon's "Crown Heights" in 2017.

But it was the Broadway stage where Asomugha found his true calling. He felt the same kind of rush he did on the football field when he made his Broadway debut in the award-winning "A Soldier's Play" earlier in February.

"They announce you, everyone's cheering," Asomugha recalled. "I kind of ran on to the stage and began our work. And I remember at that moment just being like, 'This is where I'm supposed to be.' ... That's football, isn't it? It's live. You don't get a second take, you better get it right.

"I developed that muscle so much, I'm at my best when I'm in the fire."

[RELATED: Why Raiders signing Brady could make sense for both sides]

Asomugha finished his football career after playing three games for the 49ers in 2013. He then retired as a Raider in December of that same year. And though he has found his new calling, he admits he misses the game that first brought him so much joy.

"That was a great time," Asomugha said. "Football is definitely my first love. Now finding this world in entertainment through acting and producing -- I didn't think I would love something as much as I did, but I'm so grateful now that I do."

How Raiders' 2019 draft class is laying bedrock for sustained success

How Raiders' 2019 draft class is laying bedrock for sustained success

The Raiders assembled quite a collection of talent during last year’s NFL draft. Everyone knows that by now.

First-round safety Johnathan Abram, however, doesn’t want you to forget about those who came directly after.

“Don’t forget Alec Ingold. He’s the man,” Abram said on the Raiders Talk Podcast. “And don’t sleep on A.J. Cole, either. That guy can punt. He’s the real deal.”

Abram’s right. The Raiders even got significant contributions from undrafted players in 2019. Ingold’s the long-term solution at fullback, and Cole’s a specialist off to a good start.

The 2019 rookie class was highlighted by rookie of the year candidates in feature running back Josh Jacobs and 10-sack sensation/defensive end Maxx Crosby. Both guys were runners-up for the offensive and defensive awards, making the Raiders one of two teams in the last 15 years with top-two finishes in both, per the Associated Press' Josh Dubow.

This group showed great depth. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen excelled after assuming a starter’s role following the Gareon Conley trade. Hunter Renfrow proved a quality slot receiver all season but found great form and chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr at its end.

Tight end Foster Moreau was a significant contributor as a run blocker and red-zone receiving target.

The Raiders' rookie class was awesome, despite No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell not quite living up to his draft slot in where he moved around the defensive line and got really sick before midseason. Abram was a non-factor in 2019 after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury.

Members of this Raiders rookie class believe they’re the bedrock of the Raiders rebuild, and 2019 ended with the arrow pointing up. They understand that fact, even if it goes unspoken.

“We talk about it here and there, but it’s more of something we just know,” Crosby said. “We know what we’re here for and how good we can be. Me and John and Josh and Cle and everybody else, we’re all close. For us, we know what Gruden brought us here to do. We’re grinding away and preparing to get in the playoffs and go win some games and eventually win a Super Bowl.”

[RELATED: Raiders safety Abram learned 'valuable lessons' after injury]

The Raiders draft class is recognized among last year’s best, if not right at the top. The group was first in sacks and total yards from scrimmage. They were first in receptions and rushing yards.

It has growth potential, with high ceilings and improvement all around. Ferrell vowed to return a completely different player. Abram will be back and healthy in 2020.

And while offseason rankings don’t mean much, Moreau took umbrage with an NFL Media list placing the Raiders rookie class at No. 7 in the league.

That could fuel fire down the line as the Raiders try to build a roster capable of sustained success. The group had high hopes, with expectations even higher with a season’s experience in hand. It doesn’t just fall on the higher picks. The entire group sees good days ahead.

“That was the best part of it,” Abram said. “No matter what round we came in, we put all that behind us the day we showed up at the facility. We were all hand-selected and brought here for a purpose. We just have to get the job done.”