When Andy Phillips sits down to watch the NFL Draft each year, he often wonders if anyone got the same call as him.
That call for the Waverly graduate and former Central Michigan offensive lineman came an hour before the start of the 2015 NFL Draft and came from the Chicago Bears.
On the other side, then-Bears offensive line coach Dave Magazu let Phillips know how life-changing this weekend was going to be.
The draft went back and forth without Phillips ever hearing anything from the Bears. And he never heard from them either, because teams brought in undrafted free agents.
That call, his experience through the draft process, and his interest in the game led Phillips to write a book called “Round Zero: Inside the NFL Draft.” The book is available for Amazon pre-order and will be released in January.
“I always wondered, where is the disconnect in organizations? said Phillips. “I’m sure Dave wouldn’t have wasted his time calling me before the first round if he hadn’t thought they had a chance of getting me in as a free agent. The fact that they didn’t want anything to do with me in the later rounds or after the draft – I always wondered what was really going on.That’s kind of where my thought process for this book happened.
Phillips, who landed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent and ended up being one of their last training camp cuts, examines the draft from four angles in his book. He’s had interviews with former general managers like Ron Wolf and Bill Polian, former coaches like Steve Mariucci and Bill Cowher, and he’s spoken with players like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Terrell Davis and Cris Carter.
He also looked at things from a sports agent’s perspective and had interviews with Leigh Steinberg and others.
“I feel like my story was unique and I was really nobody,” Phillips said. “(I knew) that if I could voice people who were first-round picks, who were mid-round picks, who were late-round picks — I guess their stories could also be eye-opening for the fans.
“In the words of Bill Polian, the only thing that’s true about the movie ‘Draft Day’ is that you eat a lot of bad food on draft weekend. Everything else is very exaggerated and untrue. “
Through his brief stint in the NFL with the Packers, Phillips bonded. He also got help reaching out to others through the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for which he did freelance work outside of his full-time job as risk manager and chief insurance officer. commercial for the Yurconic agency in Pennsylvania.
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Phillips said his favorite section of the book details the pre-draft experiences of his former teammate Rodgers, who expected to be in the top 10 in the 2005 draft in Tampa Bay or Arizona before Green Bay selected him 24th in the total.
“Those are things that people don’t know that we kind of dug into that,” Phillips said. “The stories in this book are just amazing. We have some really good ones from Michigan State’s Tony Mandarich. There are a lot of people who know his story as an amazing bust. I talked to him about being the greatest offensive line prospect of all time and that’s who he was back then.
“Steve Mariucci – he was fantastic and he was able to give a really good insight into being an assistant coach for the Packers, head coach of an amazing organization in San Francisco, and then having to go to Detroit and really sort it out some issues. I think there’s a lot of stories that people would really like to hear, so I’m glad they’re coming out.”
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