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News » Mooney has shot to be all he can be

Mooney has shot to be all he can be

Mooney has shot to be all he can be
When Collin Mooney previously was seen in New Orleans, a trail of Tulane defenders were strewn behind him at Tad Gormley Stadium on a picturesque Saturday in October, seemingly helpless as Mooney shredded the unit for 187 rushing yards and four touchdowns during the Green Wave's homecoming.

Those were the salad days, and odds are slim they'll be repeated, that he'll be given the chance to run like that for the Saints . He's an undrafted, free-agent rookie fullback, invited to New Orleans' rookie minicamp to try out for a spot on the team.

The chance is none that he'll be running for the Saints , or any other NFL team, the next two years.

Mooney played at Army. He has another commitment to fulfill, and it takes precedent over the NFL, as it did last year when Army safety Caleb Campbell was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round.

Campbell originally was going to benefit from the Army's alternative-service-option policy created in 2005, which would have allowed him to play Football while completing his military service as a recruiter and then in the reserves. The Army, though, revised its interpretation of the policy shortly before the Lions were scheduled to begin training camp.

So, no, this weekend in New Orleans isn't like some kind of fantasy camp for Mooney. It's all business, but it's business with the caveat that Mooney has more important business to attend to in the near future.

"As of right now, the rule stands that we serve two years active duty before we can apply for a release for the NFL or any kind of professional sport," he said.

"I don't want to count myself out. I don't want to say I'm a long shot, but I guess I am. It's hard enough to make it in the NFL, and then the two-year commitment -- that makes it a little tougher. I'm a long shot. But if a team is willing to take a chance, then they're going to get what they get. They're going to get me, and I'm going to do the best I can.

"I came to West Point wanting to be an officer, wanting to be in the Army. I still do. Things just happened to where I ended up here. I had a good season, and West Point has given me the opportunity to come out here and practice with the Saints and practice with the Vikings (last weekend). At the same time, I'm excited to serve my country. That's what I came to West Point to do. (But) I'm also excited about trying to play in the NFL."

Whether he has the necessary skills, well, that's what tryouts will determine. What is certain is that he produced some serious numbers last season for a Black Knights team that finished 3-9.

He set the school's single-season record for 1,339 rushing yards on 231 carries, and scored eight touchdowns. And he set school single-season records of five 100-yard rushing games and at least 170 rushing yards in four games.

Good thing, because he had no r?sum? to speak of -- six carries for 22 yards and a touchdown -- in the previous two seasons combined.

"I wasn't sure where I would end up because I'd been running the option, (and) pro teams don't run the option," Mooney said. "And I hadn't played much before my senior year. So I wasn't sure how things were going to play out. So it was definitely exciting to me and definitely a good opportunity."

Too good to not accept, even considering the odds, even knowing he has a two-year commitment to fulfill before he could play in the NFL.

"I'm not going to pass up the opportunity," he said. "If they're going to ask me to come try out, I'm going to come try out. I don't know what the future is going to hold, what things are going to look like down the road. I at least want to come out here and show them what I can do, and whatever happens, happens."

What happens next is this: Mooney graduates May 23 and becomes commissioned as a second lieutenant. Then, he gets a month off before returning to West Point as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach.

After that, perhaps, it's on to Basic Officer Leaders Course, a three-phased training course designed to produce commissioned officers in the Army, from January through June.

None of that puts him closer to being in the NFL, but the Saints are giving him a chance to get there, a look to see if he might belong.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here," he said. "I'm glad that the Saints are giving me the opportunity, and that West Point is giving me the opportunity to come out here."

. . . . . . .

John DeShazier can be reached at jdeshazier@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3410.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 9, 2009

Shaun Cody Name: Shaun Cody
Position: DT
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: USC
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