MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 2, 2013

Special send-off: Rougher grad celebrates en route to Raiderland

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— While NFL teams were fishing for new talent in Saturday’s final rounds of the NFL draft, Stacy McGee also went fishing.

“My agent (Peter Schaffer) told me to go somewhere and relax,” the former Rougher and Oklahoma Sooner said Thursday at a reception of family and friends in his honor at Cowboys’ Barbecue.

So out he went to a spot on the Little River just as it runs into Thunderbird Lake and sat on the bank.

“I was reeling in a fish and the phone rang,” he said. “I answered and it was such and such from the Raiders who said we’re on the clock and  we want to draft you with our next pick,” he said. “My reaction was to release the fish and drop the pole so I could hear what he was talking about.”

So the Raiders got their man, and that particular catfish got away.

But it wasn’t much of a loss.

“I actually had a good day. Caught eight catfish,” he said.

Then to celebrate, he met up with his family and had a fish fry.

It marked the end of one road he’s traveled since signing with Oklahoma out of MHS in 2008 and yet the beginning of another when a mini-camp begins Thursday.

The road to get here has had its bumps. He missed the Cotton Bowl for a violation of team rules, one of three suspensions in his career, and wasn’t at OU’s Pro Day. But he got picked up for the Texas vs. The Nation in February and in that game, suffered a broken bone in his foot.

His time at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis was spent interviewing, and he came away with a good feeling.

“I had a visit at Carolina and thought I might end up there,” he said. “I had confidence I would get drafted, I just didn’t know exactly when.”

McGee, who was considered with teammate Jameel Owens the top two players out of Oklahoma and one of the top 15 defensive tackles in the country after the 2007 high school season, played in 34 games at Oklahoma with 15 starts. He finished with 63 career tackles, but his athletic build and foot speed for a penetrating three-technique made him worth a look.

Owens wound up at Tulsa before quitting football, leaving McGee alone with the shot at the ultimate dream.

“JO and I talk all the time and he was one who called and told me congrats, he was happy for me and proud more than anything,” he said.

“I’ve been through my ups and my downs and I’ve just tried to push through it. My motivation all along has been my family. I’ve had my coaches along the way but they can only teach you so much. My family has been my motivation through all this.”