American Football

Fisher's meteoric rise

An unfashionable player in an unfashionable position, Eric Fisher completed a meteoric rise to be chosen as the number one pick in the NFL Draft.

 
Fisher's meteoric rise - American FootballReuters
 

The 22-year-old offensive tackle was thrust into the American sporting spotlight when he was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs as this year's number one, an honour normally reserved for quarterbacks.

Fisher, a hulking giant who stands 6ft 7in and weighs 306 pounds bounded on to the stage at Radio City Music Hall like a teenager on prom night, wrapping his arms around NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as the enormity of his selection began to sink in.

"I can't even process what's happening right now, this is surreal," he said. "This is a dream come true, it was one of my goals."

Fisher became just the fourth offensive tackle to be picked number one in the draft but it was not the first time he had defied the odds.

He was virtually unwanted when he finished high school.

Rejected by the major footballing colleges, he went to Central Michigan and used his snub as motivation.

"I had a chip on my shoulder," he said. "I'm just a very competitive person."

The Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who was an offensive lineman when he was at college, saw something in Fisher that he liked, picking him primarily to protect new quarterback Alex Smith, who was traded from San Francisco.

As the number one pick, Fisher is likely to earn in excess of $20 million for his four seasons and has promised his mother, who he said had worked tirelessly to get him through college, a new life.

"My mom worked for 33 years. I'm just glad to be able to give something back to her," added Fisher.

"We're just ordinary blue collar people. She always said these sort of things don't happen to people like us. So It's like winning the lottery."

While the likes of Troy Aikman, John Elway and the Manning brothers Peyton and Eli all went on to win Super Bowls after being picked number one in the draft, the top spot is no guarantee for success and has been a curse for others.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who was taken first in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders of Louisiana State University, walked away from the game after just three unspectacular seasons, although he pocketed $39 million.

Quarterbacks David Carr, in 2002, and Tim Couch, who was the top choice in 1999, both lost far more games than they won.

Running back Ki-Jana Carter, who was taken first in 1995 out of Penn State, ripped up his knee in his first preseason NFL game. He barely rushed for more than 1,000 career rushing yards in eight NFL seasons.

Defensive end Courtney Brown, Cleveland's number one overall pick in 2000, managed just 19 sacks in his career.

The uncertainty about number ones has led to a significant reduction in their eye-popping sign-on salaries.

In 2010, the St. Louis Rams signed quarterback Sam Bradford to a six-year deal worth $78 million contract, with $50 million guaranteed.

But last year, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who went one and two respectively, each earned just over $20 million.

Reuters
 
 
 
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