For Those Not Drafted, an Anxious Wait

Article excerpt

The first thing Dom DeCicco thought after he realized he wouldn't be selected in the NFL Draft: "What a horrible situation."

The former Thomas Jefferson and Pitt safety was among about a dozen players with local connections who weren't one of the 254 selected during this past weekend's draft, leaving them on the open market.

Problem is, because of the NFL lockout, teams are forbidden to contact undrafted free agents, let alone sign them, until the lockout is lifted and the league resumes its normal activities.

That could be in a couple days or a couple months.

"What a horrible time to have a lockout," said Elijah Fields, a former Pitt safety and Duquesne High School who finds himself in the same situation as DeCicco.

Until a lockout resolution is reached, players like DeCicco and Fields can only wait -- and hope.

"You have to hope that it ends so you have time to prepare the proper way," said fullback Henry Hynoski, who left Pitt a year early to test the NFL waters. "The only thing you can do is stay in shape and wait."

Making an NFL roster as a rookie free agent is tough enough, but if the lockout drags on, it might make it impossible.

Teams typically sign undrafted free agents moments after the draft. The players arrive at the facility the next day, participate in a three-day minicamp later in the week and attend organized team activities before reporting to training camp. …