Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Christian Covington Lone Canadian Selected in This Year's NFL Draft

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Christian Covington Lone Canadian Selected in This Year's NFL Draft

Article excerpt

Covington lone Canadian taken in NFL draft

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Christian Covington doesn't have to go far to begin his pro football career.

The Rice defensive lineman went in the sixth round, No. 216 overall, to the Houston Texans in the NFL draft Saturday. The school is roughly five kilometres from NRG Stadium, the club's home venue.

"To have a team such as the Houston Texans, who are just right down the street, to be interested in this way, this is a dream come true for me," Covington told reporters during a conference call.

The six-foot-two, 289-pound Covington, from Surrey, B.C., was the lone Canadian taken in the three-day draft, which was held in Chicago. Covington watched Saturday's proceedings on TV in B.C. with about 45 family members and friends.

Covington, who declared for the draft despite having one year of eligibility remaining, had 20 tackles and three sacks last season. He missed four games with the Owls, including the final three with a dislocated knee cap that required surgery in November.

In 2013, Covington had 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks to earn All-Conference USA first-team honours despite playing most of the campaign with a cast on his right hand because of a thumb injury. Covington says his knee is a non-issue.

"I'm fully recovered," Covington said. "I know when I get back to Houston there will be re-evaluating my knee . . . but I'm ready to get the ball rolling."

Covington won't have to wait long. He and other rookies will report Friday for a three-day mini-camp in Houston.

Covington's selection is bad news for CFL clubs as he's the top-ranked prospect for the league's draft later this month. Now, any team selecting Covington will have to wait for him to arrive.

Covington has CFL roots. His father, Grover, registered a league-record 157 sacks over 11 seasons as a defensive end with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1981-'91) and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Christian Covington is the first Rice interior defensive lineman drafted since '76 when Cornelius Walker went in the third round to the Kansas City. He joins a Texans' defensive front that features veteran tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive end J. …

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