Feature story on Davone Bess

About how he reacted to not being drafted, Bess said:
“I said, ‘I guess I’ll have to do what I always have.’ ” (SFSS)

Asked what that is, Bess said:
“Overcome some things.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “He was born on the mean streets of Oakland, Calif., and knows friends lost on them. His father was a “big-time drug dealer,” he says. Another strike. At 10, his uncle was murdered in front of him during a birthday party by a couple of intruders. “Sports” is the one-word answer he gives as the passport from this world. He became a high school star and earned a scholarship to Oregon State. Then, just when he had his ticket out, he picked up some friends a few days after graduation and they loaded stolen goods into his car. He didn’t know about it, but the law didn’t care. That led to a year in prison and an expensive lesson on picking better friends. Did that get him down? Of course it did. This isn’t a Disney movie. But he didn’t stay down, forming a 7-on-7 team in prison and getting a tape of his workout in the hands of Hawaii coach June Jones.”

About how JJ saw his workout tape from prison, Bess said:
“That’s the chance I needed.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “When Jones showed up an hour early for 7 a.m. practices, Bess already would be catching footballs off a machine in the dark. When others left to shower after practice, Bess would be running sprints.”

About how the NFL advisory board said that he’d be a late 2nd round or definite 3rd round pick, Bess said:
“Then I ran at the [NFL] combine.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “NFL teams are slaves to a chart. If receivers stand 5 feet 9, they need to run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds. If they’re 6 feet, the time is 4.4 seconds. At 6-2, it’s 4.6 seconds. Bess is nearly 5-10. His fastest time at the combine was 4.67. That meant he wasn’t just too small to be considered a prime prospect. He was too slow, too.”

About how all of the scouts passed on Bess, his agent Kenny Zuckerman said:
“All these scouts said they loved him but that they couldn’t take him because of the chart. I said, ‘What about Wes Welker?’ They said it didn’t matter.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “Bess promised himself not to watch the first day of the draft. But when the day came he planted himself in front of the television. By the second day, relatives came over, ready to celebrate. Instead, the draft weekend turned into seven rounds of motivation. Zuckerman listed teams before the draft based on things like receiving need, coaching atmosphere and whether they needed a kick returner. The Dolphins topped the list. He figured they’d take a couple receivers and would be struck from his list. But by draft’s end they hadn’t taken a receiver and still were No. 1.

About how Miami was a great fit for Bess, Zuckerman said:
“It looked like a perfect fit for both sides.” (SFSS)

About his 9 receptions in their Buffalo game last week, Bess said that it:
“gave me flashbacks to Hawaii with that many passes coming my way.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “His 39 catches rank sixth among rookie receivers. He also is three catches from second place among all-time undrafted rookies ( Wayne Chrebet leads with 66).”

About how his wife Rachel Mulleitner gave birth to their daughter Kyrah Imani Bess on election night, Bess said:
“I’m not sleeping as much.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “There he will be again Sunday, still too small, still too slow, still from a world of trouble and still making a career for himself. Sometimes a good football story like the Dolphins this year delivers a better human one like Bess.”

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