Kuberski drafted, but left in cold Packers must wait for Navy lineman

April 27, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Thousands of collegians play football each year, but being drafted by an NFL team is an honor bestowed on just 224 this year.

Yesterday, Navy's Bob Kuberski became one of the select few, capping a day of mixed emotions.

Kuberski, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive tackle, was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers, the 183rd pick overall. A half-hour before he was drafted, Kuberski had learned that his request to delay his five-year military obligation -- which would allow him to play in the NFL immediately -- was denied.

"I had sent a letter on March 19 asking if I could delay my commitment a couple of years," Kuberski said yesterday. "But I got a message back from [Rear Adm. Thomas Lynch, Navy's superintendent] that I'm not allowed to play."

So that leaves the football future of the agile and quick Kuberski in limbo. A starter at Navy since the fourth game of his sophomore season, Kuberski was an All-East selection the past two years and was the first Navy player drafted since Napoleon McCallum was picked in 1986 by the Los Angeles Raiders in the fourth round.

A tinge of disappointment was in his voice as he recalled the events of yesterday afternoon. Kuberski said he received a call from Green Bay shortly after receiving the computer message that his exemption request would not be granted.

"I told [the Packers] there was no deal," Kuberski said. "And they said, 'We're going to pick you anyway.' "

And so Kuberski was picked, even ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta, taken by the Minnesota Vikings with the 192nd pick.

"It's been up and down for me," Kuberski said. "I was really down when I got the news that I couldn't play, but really up after I got drafted."

Kuberski flew to Green Bay earlier this month, and impressed the Packers in his workout. He also had tryouts with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. He was hoping that the Navy would allow him to play two years in the NFL before he began the five-year military obligation that all Naval Academy graduates face.

"I asked if I would be able to play," said Kuberski, who, during the season, said that allowing him to play in the NFL would be a good recruiting tool for the academy. "Since I won't right away, I'll just honor the commitment and see what happens."

Now, his opportunity at pro football might not come until 1998. Although Kuberski will be 27 by then, he still will have a dream.

"I'm happy. I have a home with a team in the NFL so that when done I won't have to market myself again," Kuberski said. "I'm lucky that I've never been seriously hurt, and I'm just hoping for a chance later on."

NFL draft round-by-round selections

Rounds 1 through 4 were held Sunday.

Fifth round 113, New England, Scott Sisson, k, Georgia Tech. 114, Seattle, Terrence Warren, wr, Hampton. 115, New York Jets, Fred Baxter, te, Auburn. 116, San Francisco (from Phoenix), Artie Smith, dt, Louisiana Tech. 117, Cincinnati, Forey Duckett, db, Nevada. 118, Green Bay (from Tampa Bay), Mark Brunell, qb, Washington. 119, Green Bay (from Chicago), James Willis, lb, Auburn.

120, New York Jets (from Detroit), Adrian Murrell, rb, West Virginia. 121, Atlanta, Ron George, lb, Stanford. 122, Los Angeles Rams, Sean LaChapelle, wr, UCLA. 123, New York Giants, Tommy Thigpen, lb, North Carolina. 124, Cleveland, Herman Arvie, ot, Grambling. 125, Los Angeles Raiders, Orlanda Truitt, wr, Mississippi State. 126, Denver, Kevin Williams, rb, UCLA.

127, Los Angeles Rams (from Indianapolis), Chuck Belin, g, Wisconsin. 128, Washington, Greg Huntington, c, Penn State. 129, New York Jets (from Green Bay), Kenny Shedd, wr, Northwestern Iowa. 130, Kansas City, Lindsay Knapp, g, Notre Dame. 131, Houston, John Henry Mills, te, Wake Forest. 132, Miami, Chris Gray, g, Auburn. 133, Minnesota, Everett Lindsay, ot, Mississippi.

134, San Diego, Walter Dunson, wr, Middle Tennessee State. 135, Pittsburgh, Lonnie Palelei, g, UNLV. 136, Buffalo (from Philadelphia), Mike Devlin, c, Iowa. 137, New Orleans, Tyrone Hughes, db, Nebraska. 138, New England (from San Francisco through San Diego), Richard Griffith, te, Arizona. 139, Buffalo, Sebastian Savage, db, North Carolina State. 140, Pittsburgh (from Dallas), Mark Woodard, lb, Mississippi State.

` Sixth round 141, Green Bay (from Seattle), Doug Evans, db, Louisiana Tech. New England, Lawrence Hatch, db, Florida. 143, Phoenix, Brett Wallerstedt, lb, Arizona State. 144, New York Jets, Richie Anderson, rb, Penn State. 145, Tampa Bay, Chidi Ahanotu, dt, California. 146, Chicago, Dave Hoffmann, lb, Washington. 147, Detroit, Greg Jeffries, db, Virginia.

148, Cincinnati, Tom Scott, ot, East Carolina. 149, Los Angeles Rams, Deral Boykin, db, Louisville. 150, New York Giants, Scott Davis, g, Iowa. 151, Atlanta, Mitch Lyons, te, Michigan State. 152, Green Bay (from Los Angeles Raiders), Paul Hutchins, ot, Western Michigan. 153, Cleveland, Rich McKennzie, lb, Penn State. 154, Denver, Melvin Bonner, wr, Baylor.

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