Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Middleburg Star Taking Shot at NFL

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Middleburg Star Taking Shot at NFL

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird, Times-Union correspondent

Richard Owens has accomplished part of his goal. The Middleburg High School graduate recently signed as a free agent with the National Football League Minnesota Vikings. Now he is doing everything he can to make the team.

Owens is back in Clay County this week after spending a weekend at the Viking mini-camp.

"It was good," he said. "I had an opportunity to make plays and get in there and try to earn a spot on the roster at either tight end, long snapper or special teams."

Owens, considered one of the best long snappers in the nation while he was at the University of Louisville, may have his best shot to make a pro roster at that position.

"They have a guy who has been there for a while and is a proven long snapper," he said. "They are looking for a good backup. They also brought in a lot of tight ends. There may be 10 or 11 of us right now."

Owens said he would return to Minnesota next week in order to train until the next mini-camp in June. He said free agents are given a small signing bonus and the team that signed them takes care of their food and lodging.

Although Owens was not selected in the NFL draft, he received a call immediately afterward from the Vikings, who said they wanted to bring him in as a free agent.

"I thought that I might be a late round pick or a free agent," he said. "I had a good bit of teams call and ask about me. I thought the situation at Minnesota was going to be great, so we went with Minnesota."

Middleburg athletic director Alan Powers said Owens' success has been a great thing for the school and the whole community. Powers said he believes Owens has a good shot at making the roster.

"He has been knocking down my door at 8 o'clock every morning to get in the weight room and to run on the track," Powers said. …

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