In between a final exam and a final paper, I sat down with former Penn defensive end Brandon Copeland, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of this weekend's NFL Draft. We talked about his signing, the long road ahead, his new position as a middle linebacker and much more.
All three Penn football players who had NFL hopes will go to rookie mini camps Thursday through Sunday. In addition to Copeland, OL Joe Bonadies was invited to the Minnesota Vikings camp and punter Scott Lopano was invited to kick at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp. Originally a Southlake, Tex., native, Lopano's family moved to Tampa a year and a half ago.
Below are some highlights from my conversation with Copeland:
Has it all set in yet?
When do you think it will?
Hopefully never … I don’t really want it to sink in, I’m not trying to get comfortable at all because one, coming from the Ivy League, you’re always going to be fighting. You’re always going to be expected to do everything perfect, you don’t really have a margin for error. And two, no contract is guaranteed in the NFL except for the first few rounds and things like that. So hopefully I’ll never be comfortable with it and knowing myself, obviously tomorrow I’ll be different than I am today, but knowing myself I’ll never be comfortable with it. I’ll continue to have a chip on my shoulder. Sometimes it hits me, like right now I’m technically an NFL player, but I have not proven or done anything to actually earn that title yet.
When did you hear from the Ravens that they wanted to sign you?
During the last round they were calling and they said, 'As soon as this thing finishes up we want to try to get on the phone with your agent and work out a deal.' So obviously I’m happy.
Did you hear from any other teams?
Yeah, I heard from a couple other teams and mainly the Packers, but this I guess for me is the dream.
Because then you kind of had a choice.
Yeah, you basically decide … Obviously the advantage of being drafted is a better signing bonus or a few more thousand dollars more, but you still could be cut. When we go to minicamp this weekend, everyone’s on the same playing field. Obviously the first rounders can feel a little bit more secure, a little more comfortable coming in, probably more relaxed. But after that it’s kind of, we’re all just fighting to make the team. We’re all going to be the same people, some people have a few more dollars I guess.
Do you know the receiver from Towson who was also signed by the Ravens?
He went to my rival high school, Gerrard Sheppard. He went to UConn then he transferred to Towson. Me and him played basketball, we grew up together. Our families are real close, so that’s real cool. We saw each other at the local pro day, we haven’t gotten a chance to talk yet, but we’ll see each other this weekend. But like I said, he’s a family friend, we’ve been friends since we were little. We used to play rec league basketball together at Owings Mills since probably 8 or 9, and me and him used to always battle against each other.
So the Ravens want you to play middle linebacker?
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