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MONTREAL -- Canadas Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has his eyes set firmly on the upcoming NFL draft. Under the gaze of nine NFL and four CFL scouts, Duvernay-Tardif confirmed why hes one of the most touted Canadian football prospects in recent memory. The six-foot-five offensive lineman for the McGill Redmen had his private pro day in Montreal on Thursday. He leapt, sprinted and tackled during the two-hour training session, setting personal bests and impressing his visitors from out of town. Its been a while since a CIS player garnered such attention from both sides of the border. "It doesnt happen every day, sure," said the 23-year-old, who chose to let scouts from both professional football leagues assess his abilities simultaneously, rather than attend last weeks CFL combine. "And its not every day a Canadian gets the opportunity to do what Im doing. I dont know if this is historic. But Im really happy it happened to me." Duvernay-Tardif, a medical student at Montreals McGill University, is projected as a third-to-fourth round pick in Mays NFL draft. The native of St-Hilaire, Que., scored a personal best in the broad jump Thursday, and some scouts clocked him in at less than five seconds in the 40-yard dash -- impressive results for a player weighing just under 300 pounds. "Ive been training for so long for these tests," said Duvernay-Tardif, who dedicated five months of work and conditioning to his pro day. "It was time to show what I could do. I knew what I was going to hit. I hit those numbers, and even better." About the only downside was Duvernay-Tardif registering 34 reps in the bench press. While thats a more than respectable showing, Duvernay-Tardif was looking for between 37 and 40 reps. Still, his results in most categories place him amongst the top performers from last Februarys NFL scouting combine, a week-long event where the top U.S. college football prospects display their abilities before league coaches, scouts and GMs. In Duvernay-Tardifs case, the NFL came to him. Scouts from Oakland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Arizona, New York, Green Bay, Chicago, San Francisco and Buffalo made the trip north to see first-hand if the Quebec native has what it takes to play in the NFL. Lee Gissendaner, area scout for the Green Bay Packers, was pleased with Duvernay-Tardifs overall performance. "The most impressive was the way he moved around," said Gissendaner, now in his 13th year scouting for the Packers. "He showed the versatility that you like, the flexibility. He did everything in the workout. "He seems like a guy who likes to compete. He responded to what we asked him to do, followed directions. His work ethic was on display." NFL scouts have been watching Duvernay-Tardif closely since the East-West Shrine game in St. Petersburg, Fla., last January. He and Manitoba defensive tackle Evan Gill -- another top prospect for this years CFL draft -- represented Canada at the annual U.S. college all-star game. "You look for a guy to stand out at this level," said Gissendaner. "When he came down to Florida, he held his own. We saw some raw ability, and some raw tools that maybe we can develop." Scouts will continue reviewing film, compare some of their top prospects, and put together draft and free agency boards until the start of the NFL draft May 8 in New York. If the offensive lineman gets his way he will be drafted by an NFL team and head to training camp this summer. There are only a handful of Canadians in the NFL, and earning a spot on a starting line in the U.S. is no easy task. And Duvernay-Tardif is actually the top-rated prospect for the coming CFL draft according to the latest rankings. Alongside NFL scouts Thursday were members of the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders, Toronto Argonauts, and Ottawa Redblacks. "Hes one of the top picks in this draft, for sure," said Joey Abrams, the Alouettes assistant director of player personnel. "Its difficult to find a kid like this, with his skill set and abilities. Hes a rare specimen. This is unprecedented. Ive never seen this before. "He met expectations. Everyone knew he was big and strong, and he showed that today." If the NFL doesnt come calling, Duvernay-Tardif is more than happy to play in is home country. "I would love to play in the CFL," he said. "I played against a lot of people that now play in the CFL. It would be great to play in that league. Im going to play and do my best wherever I end up." The CFL will hold its annual draft by conference call May 13. Notes: Earlier in the week, Duvernay-Tardif appeared on a two-page spread in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. The article was titled "Heal Thyself." a Last fall, Duvernay-Tardif was awarded the J.P. Metras Trophy as Canadian university footballs top lineman. Fake Vans SK8 . A quick first step to get to the hoop for a layup. A rousing dunk on the break off a high outlet pass saved by teammate Ramon Sessions. Wholesale Fake Vans .Y. -- First, Patrick Kane gave his family and friends something to cheer about by scoring a highlight-reel goal in a rare trip home to Buffalo on Sunday night. http://www.fakevans.com/ .Y. - The New York Rangers have reached a one-year contract extension with goalie Cam Talbot, keeping Henrik Lundqvists backup away from unrestricted free agency. Fake Vans Free Shiping . -- Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has been suspended two games for his hit from behind on Kevan Miller of the Bruins. Fake Vans From China . A steady downpour and low temperatures were predicted for much of the night. No makeup date was immediately announced, although it was determined that the game will not be part of a doubleheader on Wednesday. BEREA, Ohio -- Michael Sam was laughing with teammates as they conducted a running-back drill for kids, each youngster stiff-arming and juking his way to a touchdown celebration dance in a makeshift end zone. Sam didnt stand out. He was just another rookie, simply one of the guys. The NFLs first openly gay active player, Sams first months in the league have gone just as he would have hoped. "Its very positive, its very fun," Sam said. "Im excited to be playing for the Rams, Im excited to be in the NFL." Sam was in town with the other NFC rookies, who took part in a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with local children at the Browns training complex, part of the leagues four-day rookie symposium. The AFC rookies will begin their symposium on Wednesday. The full orientation for the players includes presentations, workshops and speakers covering a broad range of topics that fit under four core teaching principles: NFL History, Total Wellness, Professional Experience and, yes, Workplace Conduct. But workplace conduct -- that is, experiencing workplace respect and maintaining positive relationships, two main outlined elements of the symposium -- hasnt been a problem for Sam. Not with his teammates and not among the other rookies. Its obvious he has the respect of those around him. "You dont see anyone not talking to him or against him," said guard Greg Robinson, Sams teammate in St. Louis and the second overall pick in Aprils draft. "They look at him as a football player." That doesnt mean Sam has to shy away from who he is, though. In a group meeting during the symposium, he was able to share some thoughts on his own life with teammates and rookies from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "Just know someones story before you judge them. Thats pretty much what it comes down to," said Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans. "Hes a normal guy, just like us.dddddddddddd Just here to play football." Sam is also quickly becoming known for his sense of humour. "The Rams love him," Evans said. "They always joke around with him. He seems like a fun-loving guy." And like any rookie, he is adjusting to the stark contrasts between the college and professional game. Sam was the SECs Co-Defensive Player Of The Year last season and was taken with the 249th overall pick in the seventh round of the draft, but he is working hard to carve out a role on a loaded Rams defensive line, led by ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn, who was second in the NFL in sacks last season. He has also been finding work on special teams. "Its every fast. Everything is full speed," Sam said. "If you make a mistake, it could cost you that win in practice or that win in a game. That one mistake. So youve got to pay attention to details." As for the details that have followed Sam around since he came out to the media in February, they havent mattered to anyone in the league, especially those who have met him. "Hes just another guy in the locker room," Robinson said. "Hes really cool once you get to know him and I feel like he has a great story behind him." That story has resulted in a whirlwind year for Sam, without much time to reflect on the fact that he is finally an NFL player. Its a lifelong goal that made him not unlike every player on the field Tuesday, having fun with kids eager to show off their quick feet or sure hands. "It still hasnt hit me yet, its still like a dream," Sam said. And as he continues to cross through uncharted territory, there is still that one vital, important thing to keep in mind. The thing that truly makes Sams experience a worthwhile success. "They treat me like a rookie," he said. ' ' ' Cevapla


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