ORONO – Kevin McMahan is enjoying the moment and the temporary spotlight.
His real goal, though, is to become Mr. Relevant as opposed to the notoriety he’s achieved by being the last player taken in the NFL draft Sunday. The Oakland Raiders chose the Rochester, N.Y., native with the 255th pick of the draft.
“I’m ready to go into camp and show those guys that it was a relevant pick and that I can go out there and can contribute,” he said.
McMahan is the first University of Maine player drafted since Mike Buck, Scott Hough and Justin Strzelczyk were picked in 1990. Though he basked in the glow of the “Mr. Irrelevant” tag Monday morning with numerous interviews, he was back to business by the afternoon, training with Montell Owens and Jermaine Walker – his two teammates inked free agents deals Monday.
He hopes the fanfare that comes with being the last player selected gives him just enough name recognition to build from.
“I’ve always been the type of guy that tries to turn something into motivation,” he said. “That name alone is going to be something I’m going to be able to use.”
The “Mr. Irrelevant” label has gone to the last player selected in the NFL draft since 1976, when Pittsburgh selected wide receiver Kelvin Kirk. McMahan, whose bio and photos already adorned the “Mr. Irrelevant” Web site, will have the opportunity to participate in the annual Irrelevant Week, held in June in Newport Beach, Calif.
“I’m just trying to take it in stride,” said McMahan. “I’m just enjoying it right now. I’ve had so many interviews. It’s an enjoyable experience right now.”
McMahan, who was a third-team all-conference selection, was in contact with a number of teams Sunday, including Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England and San Francisco.
“I really didn’t know what to think,” said McMahan, who had 25 career touchdowns in 44 games at Maine and finished eighth all-time with 1,995 receiving yards. “When it got about midway through the seventh round, I didn’t know where it was going to go. I knew maybe I’d be a free agent. So I was looking at the best situation and the best opportunity for me to make a team.”
With Oakland on the clock with the final pick, he received a call. He was told by a Raider representative that he would be the final selection of the draft.
“I actually said, “Excuse me?'” he said. “I was speechless. I don’t think I said anything for probably two minutes.”
At the same time, Owens was on the phone agreeing to a deal with Jacksonville. The house was immediately mobbed by friends, teammates and neighbors.
“It was a such a great time,” said McMahan, who will begin camp with Oakland later this week. “(Owens) and I have been training together since last summer. It’s such a great feeling to be going through it with a guy like Montell.”
Though McMahan could have tried to work his own deal as a free agent, he’s glad that he was drafted. He feels that should earn him an extra look by the Raiders.
“Me and my agent felt it would be better to be a draft pick because it really shows a team wants you there,” he said.
McMahan was already encouraged to hear Raiders coach Art Shell singing his praises Monday in a press conference.
“McMahan is 6-2, and he can run and he can catch the ball,” Shell told the Bay Area media Sunday after the draft. “We saw some cut ups of him against Nebraska. The guy was exciting.”
That’s a label McMahan would like to make stick.
“I’m really excited about going out there and competing and really trying to help out in special teams and as a wide receiver, whatever it takes,” he said.