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Irrelevant Justice

Mr. Irrelevant

April 27, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(South Carolina…)

After countless of hours on TV, the NFL Draft ended as it usually does with the last pick, Mr. Irrelevant.

During the three-day event, draft pundits talked about 253 players, their size, their skills and their potential impact. When it came to the 254th player, the experts didn't have to say much.

They usually run out of material by the time a team selects the final player in the draft. This is when the NFL folks in New York hand it over to a man named Paul Salata from Newport Beach.

Salata used to catch passes in the NFL 65 years ago. At age 86, he can barely catch his breath. He still made his way to the podium and delivered the news hardcore NFL fans waited for on Saturday.

"This year's Mr. Irrelevant is the Indianapolis Colts' [pick and they] selected Justice Hamilton, Cu-Cunningham," Salata announced while shaking his head and smacking his forehead for butchering the last name. "Oh geez! I knew it!"

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Salata then corrected himself.

"Justice Cunningham, tight end, South Carolina," Salata said. "And Justice, we'll be in touch with you and you're going to have the week of your life. Bring your friends."

The question for Cunningham now is whom will he bring to Newport Beach as his honorary guest during the Irrelevant Week festivities? He has brothers named "Power" and "Sincere" and a sister who goes by "Promise."

The Colts obviously must have felt Cunningham has the power and promise at 6 feet, 4 inches and 264 pounds. And Cunningham is sincere about his chances of making a team with a lot of depth at tight end.

"It's going to make me a better player and bring out the best in me," Cunningham said of competing at tight end with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, players the Colts drafted in 2012 to catch passes and block for quarterback Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick that same year.

"The Colts told me they picked me for a reason, and it doesn't matter that I got picked last, only that I got picked."

The Colts already have Cunningham's jersey, No. 254. Salata's son-in-law, Ed Fitch, held the jersey with "MR. IRRELEVANT" on the back.

Fans cheered and laughed when Salata announced the last player taken. The line is like one of Salata's old jokes. It never changes, just the pick's number, the NFL team picking and the player's name, position and college team.

Maybe Salata called Cunningham "Hamilton" on purpose, because Cunningham played for the original USC (University of South Carolina). Salata played for the University of Southern California.

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