Draft Memories: John Offerdahl

What stands out to you the most from your Draft Day experience?

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John Offerdahl: "I've got a lot of great Draft Day memories. Are you ready? My Draft Day Memory, John Offerdahl, 1986. Sports Illustrated did a front cover article on a who's who of Midwestern college players that could be diamonds in the rough. Jill Leiber was with me through the draft at my house and the moment we were watching ESPN and Bill Walsh called me up and congratulated me on the fact that I was going to be a San Francisco 49er. I was jubilant and I took the phone off the hook and we were watching ESPN and a half an hour to an hour later they finally got caught up to that draft position and they announced that the San Francisco 49ers have now traded down their draft choice. I said, 'Oh, shoot.' That's exactly what I said, 'Oh, shoot.' I put the phone back on the hook and literally seconds later (Coach Don) Shula was on the phone and said, 'Congratulations, you're now a Miami Dolphin.' I was like, 'I'll take Miami.' Little did I know that I would have had three more rings if I was a 49er but I was very happy to be a Miami Dolphin. That was almost the most foolish thing any draft choice candidate had ever done and that was me. And it was all recorded by Sports Illustrated so thank you Sports Illustrated for catching that fopa." 

How did you celebrate being drafted?

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Offerdahl: "This is all documented by Sports Illustrated but I had family and friends amounting to probably 40 or 50 people. We stayed up the night before and played cards and all slept on the family room floor. We woke up the next morning, put ESPN on and got to watch the draft together, It was just a group of people that loved each other and I was really pleased to have shared that with all of my friends and in a way get it captured and documented by that Sports Illustrated article. So that was real neat for me." 

What did you do in preparation to help your draft position as far as special workouts, etc.?

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Offerdahl: "I worked out on my own. To prepare for the draft we had a big bratwurst fry the night before so I was nice and ready. I had a lot of fat content in my tummy by the time I came down there to Florida. No, we did have the Combine back in Indianapolis and that was to prepare for the draft." 

Was there something about your interviews with prospective coaches before the draft that stood out?

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Offerdahl: "By that time they knew I was one of five kids with four older sisters and had a problem finding my own masculinity, so they knew all of those things. They prodded me plenty. I played the French Horn. I had four older sisters. My God don't recruit that guy. He's high risk." 

What advice would you give to this year's class of draft choices?

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Offerdahl: "It's just a special time and one that you should embrace. Too many times I see these people screw up an opportunity of a lifetime when they're in the crosshairs of greatness and it gets to their head and they blow it. So at the end of the day enjoy that moment but realize it's just the beginning of another career and one that has high expectations for you to perform. Get ready, get serious and get nervous. As Coach Shula used to say to me, 'Are you nervous?' I'd say, 'Absolutely,' and he'd say, 'You better be.' You better be nervous, man. This is the game."

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