There were 253 players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, but hope isn’t lost for those who weren’t. Teams are signing undrafted free agents and inviting players to participate in their rookie mini-camps.
Garrett Safron, Seamen Milano. (Photo: Dario Fumagalli)
Last year, QB Garrett Safron was one of those players. He didn’t get drafted out of Sacramento State and as soon as the Draft ended he was invited to the Raiders rookie mini-camp.
Garrett graduated from Santa Monica HS in 2010, redshirted as a true freshman at Sacramento State and was the starting QB his last three years in college, where he broke a lot of school records. Here you can see his stats and here the passing records.
At Sacramento State: 833/1332, 9,713 yards, 86 TDs, 35 INTs, 413 carries, 1,906 rushing yards, 16 TDs.
May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Garrett Safron (5) throws a pass at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
The Raiders didn’t offer him a contract and he chose to play in Italy for the Seamen Milan, the Italian Champions.
I sent him an email and he was kind enough to answer a few questions.
(NOTE: you can find the Italian version of this interview here)
Raiders Italia: Hi Garrett, thank you for this opportunity to interview you. When did you start playing football?
Garrett Safron: 5
RI: What team do you root for and who’s your favorite player?
GS: LA Rams. Tom Brady and Cam Newton
RI: Last year you were preparing for an opportunity in the NFL: pro day, interviews. What can you tell us about this process?
GS: It’s mentally/physically tough
RI: Did you think you had a chance to be drafted or were you expecting to be a rookie free agent?
GS: Let’s just say I didn’t meet my expectations
RI: What teams were in contact with you?
GS: My agent was talking to the Raiders, Bills and Chiefs
RI: When did the Raiders contact you?
GS: They were in contact with my agent throughout the Draft. I was texting the quarterbacks coach for the Raiders [Todd Downing] during it all. He was giving me the inside scoop of what was going on in their Draft room. But right after the Draft ended that’s when they invited me in
RI: You were invited to the Raiders rookie mini-camp in May after the Draft. Tell me about that experience.
GS: It was great to have that feeling like you belong playing at the highest level. But there’s nothing different really, everyone is human. Everyone straps up they cleats. At the end of the day it’s football
2015 Rookie Mini Camp Schedule
RI: Were you expecting to be in an NFL training camp last year? Were you upset it didn’t happen?
GS: It’s business at that level
RI: Now you’re playing for the Seamen in Milan. Why Italy? What were your options?
GS: Plenty of options. Those don’t matter though. I came to the best organization in Italy to win!
RI: How is it going? What’s the level of competition in Italy?
GS: Enjoying the process. It hasn’t been easy. Getting injured. Not being able to practice. But nothing worth having comes easy
RI: How’s your Italian?
GS: Haha perfetto
RI: If I understand it correctly this is your first experience outside the US. How are you adapting to the new lifestyle? What do you like about Italy? What situations did you find it difficult to adapt to?
GS: Nothing has surprised me. I just go with the flow and manage every situation I get into. Everything has gone smooth for the most part. Having teammates like mine makes it easy to adapt. They welcomed me in with open arms like I was already family. I got much love for these guys
RI: What are your plans for the future? Are the NFL hopes still alive?
GS: It’s in God’s hands. I’m just enjoying the journey
Thank you very much for your time Garrett, we wish you all the best for your career and future!