FOOTBALL: Momah, Clancy Eye NFL Dreams At Pro Day
12 Former BC Fotball Players Workout For Pro Teams Leading Up To Draft
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 01:03
Mar. 20 has been circled on the calendars of Nick Clancy and Ifeanyi Momah for a long time.
For Clancy, it’s been a day he’s worked for since the final whistle blew at North Carolina State, signaling the end of Boston College’s 2012 season in November.
For Momah, this day has been an even longer time coming.
Yesterday was Pro Day at Alumni Stadium, the annual event that brought personnel from 11 NFL teams to look at 12 former BC football players aspiring for a shot at the next level.
While the top 333 college prospects got an invite to show off their skills at last month’s NFL Combine—including BC’s Emmett Cleary, Chris Pantale, and John Wetzel—there were others that never got that opportunity on the big stage.
Momah’s journey to Pro Day was filled with more roadblocks than not being invited to the Combine. The wide receiver hasn’t played in a game of football since Sept. 3, 2011, in the season-opener against Northwestern. He had a monster day, catching eight passes for 157 yards.
But one bad landing put him on the sideline for the rest of the season. While bringing down his seventh catch of the game, Momah tore his ACL, and was done for the year.
“I found out about it and it was heartbreaking,” Momah said. “I was planning on having a big senior year.”
Having sat out the entire 2009 season due to another knee injury and a position change to defensive end, Momah applied for a sixth year of eligibility, but was denied it by the NCAA.
Still experiencing swelling in his left knee from the ACL tear last March, Momah was forced to sit out last year’s Pro Day on the sideline, watching his classmates audition for a shot at the NFL.
During the first two or three months of his recovery, Momah thought long and hard about giving up football and pursuing another career. But deep down, he knew he couldn’t give up the opportunity he had.
So he went down to Pensacola, Fla. soon after, and met with well-known surgeon James Andrews, who deals with athletes with ACL tears. Andrews set up a program for Momah to take on in order to strengthen the muscles around his knee.
Ever since, Momah has been working out in order to get him back in shape for football. In January, he went to another training program in Miami to make sure he was fully ready to participate in workouts like Wednesday’s Pro Day.
“It’s a blessing,” Momah said of the opportunity to participate in this year’s Pro Day. “Last year I was out here and couldn’t do anything with my knee. That hurt. It was tough for me. That whole year off, training and working out, I had a fire in my chest to keep working so I could come out here this year and give it my all. I’m happy with how it turned out today. I was happy to do what I had been doing before the injury. I feel like my old self again.”
Momah seemed to get the scouts’ attention during his workouts at Pro Day, as many of them left impressed with the 6-foot-7, athletic wideout. He hopes his performance at Pro Day will lead to a few individual workouts with teams in the coming weeks.
While Momah is not eligible for this year’s draft, he is aiming to catch on with a team as an undrafted free agent. That would get him into a rookie training camp, and give him a legitimate shot at making an NFL roster by September.
“I’m hoping some teams give me an opportunity and I get to choose where the best fit for me is,” he said.
Having gone through a challenging journey to get to where he is today, Momah is just hoping for a team to give him a chance.
“I’m happy I made it here today and I still have that fire burning in me to keep going. I plan on trying to play as long as possible,” Momah said.
While a career in the NFL is no guarantee, Momah’s injury and recovery has made him realize what playing at the next level would mean.
“It would mean everything,” he said. “If I can get a workout off just this one day, glory to God, I’ll be happy. I’ll be forever thankful and grateful.”
Despite having a breakout senior year in 2012 and leading the ACC in tackles with 145, Clancy’s stong season was not enough to earn him an invitation to the NFL Combine. That disappoitment was more than enough to give him a chip on his shoulder entering Wednesday’s workouts.
“The fact that I didn’t get an invite definitely gave me an extra spark of motivation for today, just knowing I had that much more to prove to these guys,” Clancy said. “They haven’t really seen me. I’ve kind of gone under the radar these last few months, and having this opportunity, I had to make the best of it.”
For the last three months, Clancy has been training and working out mostly in Arizona to get in shape for this day.
“I think I did well,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m happy with how I performed. It’s something you train for for three months. I’ve been doing nothing but working out and eating right and getting my body right for this day. Hopefully the scouts thought I did well too.”
There was, however, a bump in the road. While practicing for an all-star game in Texas, where he would have had the opportunity to show off his talent before NFL scouts, Clancy broke his forearm. He underwent surgery in early February, and after a quick recovery was cleared to start working out again two weeks later.