In case you missed part one, catch up here...
A lot of people ask me how I was able to sleep knowing that I wasn't picked-up by anyone on the first day of the draft. When I tell them I slept real well, they always act so shocked. Not having a home after day one really wasn't THAT big of a deal. ...Wait. That's a crazy thing to say. Of course it was a big deal. I was beyond anxious to get drafted. So -- yeah -- I guess it doesn't make much sense that I was able to sleep so well (Ha!).
So I'm sitting there on the couch thinking to myself... "Maaaaaaan -- Here we go again!" But I couldn't be mean and tell everyone to "get out!" After all, they were just showing me love. They wanted to let me know they were supporting me. And, deep down inside, I knew this and was cool with it. What can I say? I love'em.
So, after a good night's sleep, I woke up and set up shop in front of the TV for another day of watching the draft. Day one featured the first three rounds, and the second day included rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Round four came and went, and my name wasn't called (Me = Not happy). And, it was at about that time my family and friends starting showing up again in full-effect, for a draft party that was never supposed to happen in the first place!
The fifth round was now underway. I'm sitting there on the coach, seeing all these other guys getting picked in front of me, and I'm thinking that I should be in the NFL by now. Then I remembered that I have a list of projections that said where I was ranked among the other safeties. Sure enough, it predicted me to be chosen by a team in the fifth round. And there we were - in the fifth round - and guys who were ranked below me were being picked up before I was! I'm sure you can imagine how frustrating it was to watch that kind of craziness go down.
By this time, I'm starting to get nervous, which surprised me, because, up until then, I had done a pretty good job of staying sane. Now I'm starting to think that I wasn't gonna get drafted at all. If a team didn't hustle up and call out "Payne," I was going to be a free agent.
Just as my nerves were heating up, my agent, Albert Elias (of Elias Sports Management) called. He said...
"Get off the phone! The Chicago Bears are trying to call you!"
I told him... "I'm not on the phone! I don't know why the call's not going through!"
So I'm freakin' out, right? What in the world was I supposed to think? My agent is telling me the Bears are calling, but there sure weren't any phones ringin' up in that house. So I got ahead of myself and screamed...
"Mama! The Chicago Bears are about to draft me!"
And that's when roof blew off the house.
My Auntie jumped up in excitement about the good news that hadn't even been confirmed yet, ran to the back room where Mama was lying down, gave her a huge hug and cried all over her.
Now we really had a draft party going on. But I still wasn't officially with a team -- YET.
It was just my girlfriend and I sitting there on the couch -- watching -- waiting -- anticipating the sight of my name being crawled across the screen. I gave a few more stern warnings to everyone in the house to "Stay off the phone," because the Chicago Bears were about to draft me. But, in reality, I didn't know that for sure.
My Auntie and Mama were ballin' their eyes out and crushing each other while they hugged...The rest of my family and friends couldn't have been happier as they celebrated like never before...
And there I was... pacing back and forth, waiting to pick up a phone that wasn't ringing. And, all the while, the seconds were ticking down for the Bears as they were on the clock in that very moment.
Then the phone rang. But the person on the other end wasn't a rep from the Bears, it was my agent, once again...
"Stay off the phone! They're trying to call you, but they can't get through!"
I didn't know why their call wasn't connecting! I told him, once again... "I'm off the phone!"
I hung up and continued to pace...
Part three of all this madness is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Update: Here's part three... "My Dream Comes True"