Last Saturday, Penn football tight end Ryan O'Malley signed as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders. We asked him a couple questions about his new career.
This interview has been lightly edited for brevity.
Daily Pennsylvanian: Take me through the timeline of being contacted by NFL teams in advance of the draft.
Ryan O’Malley: There have been scouts coming to practices going back to when I was playing for Penn. I know [playing professionally] was always something I wanted to do, so it worked out perfectly, since I had a fifth year for football; I spent 4 ½ semesters at Penn, and since I graduated in December, I’ve just had time for training.
Throughout this entire time, scouts have been calling me leading up to my pro days – which were at the end of March and early April, I had two different ones. I was getting calls even after the pro days, from a bunch of teams, a couple coaches.
And so the draft started last Thursday… I knew I wasn’t gonna get drafted in the first, second or third round. But on Saturday, when they do rounds four through seven… I knew there was a chance I’d get drafted, but I knew more than likely I’d be signed as a free agent. And so Saturday was the longest day of my life… just hoping that my name would get called.
I was talking to a few teams: The Lions, the Colts, the Jets, and the Raiders obviously. When the draft ended and I didn’t get drafted, it was just a scramble after that. The Raiders offered me a contract and I jumped at that, since my agent told me it would be a good place to go since I’d have a good chance at making the team.
DP: What do you see as being your role on the team?
RO: We haven’t talked too much about that yet, but from what I expect I’ll be an in-line tight end: A lot of blocking, maybe catching the occasional pass, and obviously special teams will be a huge thing for me, especially as a rookie.
DP: What’s your schedule going to look like for the rest of this summer?
RO: I’m leaving on Monday, May 9 to fly out [to Oakland] for their rookie development program, which is from May 9 to June 24. The rookie orientation will begin that Monday, and then rookie minicamp starts that Thursday or Friday. And then it’s Organized Team Activities, working out with the rest of the team, and then I think they let you go home for a few days on June 24. After that, you come back, and that’s when the actual training camp starts.
DP: Have you talked to [O’Malley’s former teammate and current Detroit Lions linebacker] Brandon Copeland at all?
RO: Yeah, he texted me right after he found out I was signed, so we’ve been talking a bit.
DP: Obviously. your path is a lot different than most Penn students. Do you have a career ‘backup plan’ outside of football?
RO: Nah, I’m all in with this. I’ve done a couple of internships over the summers – and I’ve loved the places that I’ve worked – but I’ve known that I can’t have a desk job for the rest of my life. I’m definitely all in with football.
DP: Anything else you want to add?
RO: Go Quakers!
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