SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Football has taken Michael Floyd places he could only dream of as a kid growing up in St. Paul.
“I’ve been playing since third grade and I love the game,” said Floyd.
Like Notre Dame, where he became the greatest receiver in Irish football history. And before that, he left his mark at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul – a football factory that turns out not only great players, but great people.
Mike Scanlon, the head coach at Cretin-Derham Hall says he would rank Floyd in the top five football players who ever walked the halls of the school.
And now Floyd is on the verge of another football fantasy coming true. He is regarded as one of, if not the best, receiver in the 2012 NFL draft.
Floyd says he understands and appreciates what’s at stake for him in the next 24 hours. He admits he wasn’t sure what to expect when he arrived on the Notre Dame campus four years ago. But like most who attend school in South Bend, they soon understand the work ethic needed to be academically successful there.
It is a special place, and Floyd will leave Notre Dame with a degree in sociology, and he’ll attend graduation ceremonies in May. And he will have a job waiting for him after graduation – one that will pay him millions of dollars, and one that he almost threw away in March 2011 when he was arrested for DUI on the Notre Dame campus. It was his third alcohol-related charge in three years.
That DUI charge changed everything for Floyd. Not only did he embarrass himself and his family, but Notre Dame took away football – the one thing Michael Floyd could not live without.
“It was tough, just really tough because I couldn’t be with my teammates. I had to do everything individually, I did everything with a team did but did it individually,” explained Floyd.
Floyd was suspended from football indefinitely until he could prove to the Notre Dame coaches he had his priorities straight. He did change and was reinstated in order to play his senior season. Still, on his 10 NFL visits this spring, his off-the-field issues became a priority.
“They always harp on it all the time, everywhere I go, they ask questions about issues I’ve had. I just tell them, like anyone else who asks, it’s behind me, it was a bad decision on my part. I take full responsibility for it and it’s not going to happen again,” declared Floyd.
Viking General Manager Rick Spielman interviewed Floyd recently and said his team spent quite a bit of time studying Michael’s character.
“I think you have to, you’re not doing you’re due diligence if you don’t, because if you don’t and that player continues to have problems when he comes into your organization then you could have potentially made a mistake,” said Spielman.
No one can blame NFL teams for their scrutiny when you consider the money involved. Floyd gets it, and he’s happy that part of the process is over. Now it’s about what happens in New York City Thursday night, and where he will fall in the draft.
“My friend asked me the other day, ‘are you going to cry’… ‘are you nervous?’ I’m not yet,” said Floyd. “Waiting to hear your name called that’s most nerve racking part”
Most experts believe, this big-body receiver from Minnesota won’t have long to wait.