MPs a friendly force at NFL Draft
June 22, 2009
Scores of NFL fans converged on Radio City Music Hall April 25 and 26 for this year's NFL Draft. People of all ages rallied in support of their favorite teams, in the hopes theirs would strike draft gold.
Meanwhile another team of sorts gained the opportunity to attend the second day of the draft: Soldiers from the 152nd Military Police Detachment made a play for the NFL stars, cheerleaders, commentators and other assorted celebrities in attendance.
The nation's first draft took place in 1936, a brainchild of Hall of Famer Bert Bell. Since then, more than 10,000 college players realized their dream in playing for the NFL. Some achieved modest success, while others became household names in their ascent to greatness.
Some Soldiers hoped for a glimpse of who's who of the NFL. "I was hoping to meet the new (New York) Giants players," said Sgt. Jennifer Johnson, 152nd MP Det. Although Johnson didn't get to meet the new draft picks, the self-proclaimed "die-hard" Giants fan did enjoy a meet-and-greet with Giants' Tight End Kevin Boss. The Kenilworth, NJ, native hails from a family of "Big Blue" faithful. "They would disown me if I weren't a fan," Johnson said.
Sgt. Michael Storey took a moment to absorb the "whole draft atmosphere." "My first word was NFL," he said. The draft served as an opportunity for the Baltimore, MD, native to meet some of his favorite - and not-so-favorite - personalities. While Storey hoped to meet ESPN analysts Herm Edwards and Ron Jaworski, he also wished for the chance to "tell Keyshawn Johnson to shut up. He talks too much," said the Ravens fan.
Like Storey, Sgt. Wilson Alvarado wanted the NFL Draft experience. "I've been a big fan for many years," he said. "This is a pretty big deal. It's nice to just be here." The Soldiers also met NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner made his way through the audience to pause for autographs and photos with each Soldier. Goodell recognized 20 service members and wounded warriors during the first day of the draft. Unlike previous drafts, this year's recognition broadcast live.
Johnson experienced her own 15 seconds of fame, announcing the 114th overall pick during the fourth round of the draft: the Denver Broncos' acquisition of Notre Dame free safety David Burton. Johnson shook off any nervousness to take in the events of the day. It exceeded my expectations," said Johnson. "Everyone's been so good to us - I'm loving it."