2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Jaguars giving basketball player Kearse a tryout

    2013-06-12 02:47

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Lance Kearse's first football practice in nearly a decade got off to a rough start Tuesday.

Before Kearse even caught a pass, he ran off the field and vomited.

It was understandable if the 6-foot-6 tight end was a little nervous considering he hadn't played football since middle school and was trying out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But he insisted his queasiness had nothing to do with anxiety.

``I just ate a little bit too much,'' said Kearse, a former professional basketball player and cousin of retired NFL player Jevon Kearse.

Kearse's stomach settled down, and he ended up opening eyes during the first NFL minicamp.

The 24-year-old Kearse is one of the most interesting stories of the three-day camp. He started his college basketball career at Virginia Commonwealth, transferred to Division II Eckerd College, played a year of professional basketball in Spain, and until Tuesday, hadn't strapped on a football helmet since he was 13.

``It feels foreign, it feels strange,'' he said. ``But I feel like with repetition, it'll be normal again.''

His path to the NFL was far from ordinary.

Kearse left VCU after ``butting heads'' with then-coach Anthony Grant over what appeared to be conditioning issues.

During a workout in his freshman year in 2007, Kearse had to be rushed to a hospital after battling serious fatigue and uncontrollable cramping. He nearly lost his kidneys as a result of severe dehydration.

He struggled to play much more than 10 minutes a game as a freshman and then left school in the middle of his sophomore season.

Kearse landed at Eckerd College, just a couple hours from his home in Fort Myers. Fatigue and cramps followed - until a physical changed everything.

Blood tests revealed Kearse had the sickle cell trait, an inherited condition that causes red blood cells to warp into sickle shapes during intense exercise, block blood vessels and deprive vital organs and muscles of oxygen.

The trait poses less of a threat with proper awareness and education.

``It doesn't affect me too much as long as I stay hydrated and it's monitored,'' Kearse said. ``I know how to monitor it now. Back then, when I was in high school and college, I knew nothing about it. That's why I would cramp up and pass out and have to be rushed to the hospital and all that. But now I'm aware of it and I know how to treat it, so I'm good.''

Kearse played three years at Eckerd and led the team in scoring as a senior. He averaged 16.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 2011-12 - enough to earn a contract to play overseas.

He averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds last season while playing for Lan Mobel ISB in Spain.

But having grown up in a football-crazed state and idolizing NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and his famous cousin, Lance Kearse maintained thoughts of returning to the gridiron.

It became a reality after former NFL player Earnest Graham saw him play football.

``He saw me running and catching and said, `Wow, you're pretty athletic. I'm going to try to get you a contact.' And he got me hooked up here.''

It wasn't quite that simple.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell heard scuttlebutt around the league that Kearse was looking for a workout, so he asked his scouts to check out the 240-pound tight end. An Internet search led to video evidence of his athleticism. Caldwell also called his older brother, whose sons play basketball for Nike Team Florida in Sarasota, which is near Fort Myers.

All the Team Florida coaches have followed Kearse's career.

``My brother just kind of confirmed it down there,'' Caldwell said. ``He's a heck of an athlete. He catches the ball really well. It was really nothing for us to bring him in for a workout.''

He might just stick around, too.

Aside from entrenched starter Marcedes Lewis, the Jaguars have little proven depth at the position. Jacksonville waived tight end Matt Veldman on Tuesday, leaving Lewis and five others vying for three roster spots.

``I'm not trying to say that I'm coming for anyone's spot or anything, but I'm going to come out here and compete just like everybody else is going to come out here and compete,'' said Kearse, who has no other NFL tryouts scheduled. ``Hopefully I'll make the team.''

Even with that queasy start, Kearse has no plans of turning back.

``It feels good. It feels perfect. It feels like I belong,'' he said.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group