Unlikely standout emerging at camp

>> Monday

With new free agent signings, contract disputes, and the arrival of first round draft pick Messiah Braveheart dominating the headlines this training camp, an unlikely standout who has flown under the radar is finally starting to open some eyes.

"Adam has been one of the nice surprises this camp,” said head coach P.R. Cleeshay. “He's really shown me something out there.”

“Adam” is Adam Easterlily, an undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver who has slowly but surely caught the attention of his coaching staff and peers.

“He plays with a lot of intensity out there,” said offensive coordinator Tex “Bud” McCutcheon. “He has good instincts, and he makes plays, and that’s what we like to see.”

Added backup cornerback Shaundarrel James-Johnson, “He’s always going one hundred percent, and he’s a tough competitor. He works hard and competes out there.”

James-Johnson should know. During third-team drills, he has often been assigned to cover Easterlily, the former star at St. Mary of Jesus College—a Division II school with only 330 students and one public restroom—where he holds records for receptions, touchdowns, interceptions, tackles, and field goal accuracy.

“Obviously, it’s a totally different game coming from college to the pro game,” said the former Division II star, “but I think anyone can make it in this league if you’re willing to work hard enough.”

Not only does Easterlily lack the BCS-school pedigree of most of his peers, but he is well undersized by NFL wide receiver standards, measuring in at 5’9” and 175 pounds. Because of his stature and 5.1-second 40-yard dash time at the draft combine—which Adam attributes to being “overly prepared”—all 32 teams balked at Easterlily in the April draft, a decision that he hopes to make them regret.

“I’m not out to prove anything to anyone,” insists the passed-over rookie. “I’m just trying to be as good as I can be and work hard to help the team and, most of all, prove to everyone that I’m good enough to play in this league and that you can succeed by having faith in your abilities and working hard.”

Easterlily has even earned the respect of his fellow receiving corps member and all-pro Chadxico Edwens. “Yeah, he’s got a few skills. You know, competition in camp is always good. It gets everyone to, you know, step up when a guy’s going all out like that.”

Asked whether he could learn from Easterlily’s ability to augment natural physical skills with intelligence and a strong work ethic, Edwens responded, “What the [heck] is that supposed to mean?”

According to Cleeshay, Easterlily will play with the second team in next Saturday’s preseason game before being cut and utterly forgotten by September.


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