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April 28, 2013

Several KU players get NFL deals

Tanner Hawkinson was hanging out at his brother's house for a barbeque with friends and family. They were watching the draft and waiting to see what they day would bring.

Hawkinson had been in touch with his agent Jack Bechta throughout the day.

"He said he had been talking to a few teams and said the Bengals were showing the most interest," Hawkinson said.

He started to go outside and didn't hear his phone ringing. That's when one of his friends told him he a call coming in. On the other end was Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.

"Coach Lewis told me they just put my name in and were taking me in the fifth round," Hawksinson said. "I went outside to talk to him. Then everyone started to figure out what the call was about so a lot of them came running outside. They were excited."

During the call Hawkinson also spoke with Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

"I talked to coach Alexander at the combine and we had a good talk," Hawkinson said. "I had a good feel for him. He told me they like me at all three positions on the offensive line."

[Rewind: Hawkinson breaks down NFL combine]

Hawkinson signed with the Jayhawks as a tight end and shortly after moved to offensive line. He played both left and right tackle. He even spent part of a fall playing defensive line. He did a lot of moving around in his career as a Jayhawk and all of the changes may help him in the long run.

"It has been a crazy journey," he said. "I changed positions and three head coaches. I think that built me as a person. It taught me you can't control things so you have to work hard. It is exciting to see it all come together. I had a lot of support from my teammates."


Chiefs take notice of KU players

It isn't a surprise to see three players from Kansas get invited to the Chiefs mini-camp. They were in Lawrence last fall to evaluate players and present at the Jayhawks Pro Day. Sources have told Jayhawk Slant Andy Reid and Charlie Weis know each other well and have a good relationship.

But to get an invite the players still had to show their talents.

Safety Bradley McDougald agreed to a free agent deal and will report to mini-camp. He will be joined by Dayne Crist and Toben Opurum. Crist and Opurum both played in college all-star games and performed well. Crist was named one of the top undrafted quarterbacks by NFL.com.


More Jayhawks headed to camps

Cornerback Greg Brown agreed to a free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers. Offensive lineman Trevor Marrongelli has been invited to the Detroit Lions mini-camp. Marrongelli told us in a text message he has signed any contract yet. Linebacker Tunde Bakare will report with the Chicago Bears when they start their rookie camp.

There were Kansas players still waiting for the call as late as Sunday morning. Kale Pick, Daymond Patterson, Josh Williams, and Duane Zlatnik are all hoping to still land with a team. All four went through KU's Pro Day in front of several NFL scouts.


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