Kyle Harrington's phone was buzzing with congratulations yesterday after a UMass press release announced he'd earned a National Football League tryout with the Miami Dolphins.
The truth is, the former Salem High star has indeed earned his shot to play professional football, just with a different club.
The 6-foot-4, 295 pound defensive lineman has accepted an invite to Chicago Bears mini-camp next week, and if all goes well he'll sign as a free agent at the end of the weekend.
"I had a lot of options, but depth chart wise Chicago's a great fit because they didn't draft any defensive linemen," Harrington said. "You have a better chance of going in there and playing if there's not a drafted guy in front of you so this is really one of the best options."
Harrington, who has the second best bench press in UMass history at 435 pounds, was projected as a late round pick after an excellent Pro Day showing. That came on the heels of an All-CAA second team selection at nose tackle and a career highlighted by 142 tackles and six sacks.
Since the NFL draft was split over three days for the first time, Harrington's main focus was Saturday's late rounds. Though he didn't get the draft call, he said he's still thrilled with the opportunity to continue playing football.
"It wasn't that busy (on Saturday)," said Harrington. "My agent got most of the calls and he dealt with the teams. He helped me out in the end to decide which was the best fit."
Harrington, who hopes to showcase himself at both defensive tackle and end at the mini-camp, is aiming to make an NFL roster among the likes to offseason acquisition Julius Peppers and Tommie Harris.