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Hageman Goal to Start as NFL Rookie

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May 9, 2014

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Ra’Shede Hageman will have to wait another night to learn what NFL team wants him.  Last evening was a disappointment for the former Gophers defensive lineman who was one of only 30 players invited by the NFL to be present for the first round of the draft.

All 32 teams passed on Hageman who had his adoptive parents and Washburn High School football coach Giovan Jenkins among his guests in New York for the draft that continues tonight with rounds two and three.  The ex-Washburn all-state player could have become the first Gopher who is a native Minnesotan to be drafted in the first round since the Packers chose running back Darrell Thompson in 1990.

Chris Burke’s NFL Mock Draft in the May 5 issue of Sports Illustrated had Hageman going in the first round to the Cowboys at No. 16.  “His motor ran hot and cold for the Gophers,” Burke wrote.  “When he’s on, though, few can disrupt the pocket like this 6’6” monster.”

Other draft forecasters didn’t have Hageman being chosen in the first round. Hageman’s draft profile on NFL.com refers to him as a top 50 prospect, not a certainty for the first round.  The profile praised his size, athleticism and mobility but cautioned about his technique and said his “motor idles.”

Jenkins told Sports Headliners last night Hageman said he will be okay.  “We all know he’ll go (be drafted) tomorrow,” said Jenkins who heard the Bears, Cardinals and Patriots had first round interest.

Hageman told Sports Headliners earlier in the week he was prepared for whatever happens in the draft.  His goals are to be a starter as a rookie and “work as hard as I can.”

As the radio analyst on Gophers games, Thompson watched Hageman’s college career and said recently he would be somewhat surprised if Hageman wasn’t a first round pick.

“I think he will be successful (in the NFL),” Thompson said.  “I think he can be a force to be reckoned with.  He’s got to learn to pay with leverage to take advantage of his strength and power.  He can have an eight or 10 year career.”

What about the “motor?”  Thompson believes a couple of factors are likely to motivate Hageman in the pros.  In practice Hageman will face superior competition than with the Gophers.  “He (otherwise) could get manhandled in (pro) practice,” Thompson said.

The other factor?  “He’s playing for money now.  That’s a motivator,” Thompson said.

Worth Noting

The Vikings chose Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 32 pick in the first round, a surprise move Minnesota made by acquiring the Seahawks first round draft choice.  In taking Bridgewater the Vikings passed on Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr who ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said last night could be the “steal of the draft.”

The Vikings preferred Bridgewater, a player who excites ESPN analyst Ray Lewis. “He has what it takes to take Minnesota to the next level,” Lewis said.

The final bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis was submitted this week to the NFL.  On May 20 the league will award the game to Minneapolis, Indianapolis or New Orleans.

Dave Mona isn’t part of the Minnesota Bid Committee but he was involved with the effort bringing the 1992 game to the Metrodome.  He is confident Minneapolis will be awarded a second Super Bowl, if not in 2018 then another year. “I am practically 100 percent certain we’ll get a Super Bowl,” he told Sports Headliners.

Mona, a longtime Minneapolis area public relations executive and WCCO Radio sports talk show host, said NFL owners like to reward cities that have new stadiums.  The prospect of hosting the Super Bowl is commonly promoted in civic drives by cities trying to build stadiums. The new downtown facility here opens in 2016 and a Super Bowl has been in the conversation even before the state of Minnesota and city of Minneapolis agreed to fund the stadium along with the Vikings.

Mona recalled the Minnesota Super Bowl bid contingent was twice turned down before the 1992 game was awarded to Minneapolis.  Along the way the group changed strategy, moving from a soft sell to willingness by Vikings general manager Mike Lynn to support favored initiatives by other NFL owners in return for Super Bowl votes.  “We turned it into a political campaign and I think that’s what won it for us,” Mona said.

A veteran basketball source told Sports Headliners he believes Timberwolves president Flip Saunders also wants to coach the team.  Owner Glen Taylor, though, has said he wants to keep Saunders in his present role and find someone else to coach.  The source believes Saunders’ best chance to persuade Taylor that he should have both jobs is to insist he, Saunders, is the coach most likely to convince All-Star forward Kevin Love to sign a new contract next year.

Saunders, who has coached three NBA teams including the Wolves, has worked at building rapport with Love who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2015.  “I would be pessimistic about their chances to keep Love,” the source said.

The source believes the Wolves, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, still are a project team with multiple flaws.  He questions whether Love, 25, wants to commit his future to such a franchise.  His criticism of the Wolves includes point guard Ricky Rubio who he faults for fourth quarter turnovers and not making shots.

“They have to promote him to sell tickets.  He does the spectacular but not the ordinary,” the source said.

It seems unlikely the Wolves will pursue fired Warriors coach Mark Jackson who is associated with controversy, including with Breitbart.com asking in a story on Wednesday if Jackson was let go at least partially because of his Christian views on gay marriage.

Taylor, who is interim chair of the NBA board of governors, has been told by the league not to talk about the Clippers and the expected forced sale of the franchise by owner Donald Sterling.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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