Have you ever left a party prematurely only to find out that a few icy kegs

of Heineken and Imperial rolled in shorty after you departed?

Cosey Coleman and Deon Grant know how you feel.

But rather than missing out on frosty brew, these gridiron hustlers

forfeited a few million dollars.

Both were predicted as first-round picks and surely thought leaving early

would be the most advantageous option.

Unlike Jamal Lewis, both could have returned next year as the unquestioned

leaders of the UT football team, but instead they must try to reconcile

their decision with their bank statements - Coleman in Tampa Bay and Grant

in Charlotte.

I wish I had that problem.

As for me, the lame duck sports editor with a limited amount of time and

space remaining to air my opinions, my only problem is trying to explain

the Ravens' first-round draft pick.

As a Cleveland, Ohio native, I'm tickled pink to see Jamal Lewis heading to

the Baltimore Ravens. Despite the fact that Art Modell recently stepped

down as owner, the atmosphere is still a perfect setting for a man with

Lewis' disposition.

I still have a hard time understanding how a back who was going to be

relegated to the back-up role in Knoxville could be the No. 5 overall pick,

but that's probably why I spend my afternoons in the catacombs of the

Communications building, churning out a sports section rather than working

on assignment for Mel Kiper Jr.

However, I do agree with the experts on most of the other Vols picked in

the draft.

The New York Jets did themselves a favor by snatching Shaun Ellis at the

No. 12 slot. Ellis, who was seriously injured in a car accident less than

two years ago, showed flashes of greatness throughout his career with the

Vols and has the possibility to become an impact player within five


Two other Vols will try to make an impact at the site of the Vols 1998

national championship game, Tempe, Ariz.

Sun Devil Stadium is one of the most impressive in America and should be a

posh location for Raynoch Thompson and Darwin Walker to call home.

Both have proven themselves at the collegiate level, but neither will have

an easy time finding professional stardom.

However, each has the raw talent to make it big; the only question lies in


We have General Neyland, they have Vince Lombardi, and for now, Chad

Clifton as well.

The offensive tackle surprised some experts by going as early as he did to

the tradition-laden Green Bay Packers, but as a four-year fixture on the UT

offensive line, Clifton proved his durability and, evidently, his worth as

a second-round pick.

Despite Clifton's inability to perform the Lambeau Leap, he will be a

steady force on the Packer's line and will most likely be part of a

national Got Milk? ad campaign by the end of next season.

Down in the land of armadillos and oil fields, Dwayne Goodrich will have a

tough time keeping the ultra-demanding Dallas management squad happy, but

if the Illinois native returns to his form of the Vols' 1998 national

championship run, the Cowboys will look pretty sharp picking up Goodrich at

No. 49.

While all the aforementioned Vols will have a better-than-average chance of

becoming NFL regulars, one will have the best opportunity of making an

immediate impact - quarterback Tee Martin.

Not because Martin is the most talented of the bunch, but instead because

of the team that acquired his skills.

With the over-the-hill Mike Tomczak and the consensus

overrated-player-of-the-decade Kordell Stewart sharing the quarterbacking

duties last season, the Steelers are in desperate need of a strong leader,

and if nothing else, Martin has proven himself as much.

If Martin plays within himself and Bill Cowher hangs on to his job, look

for the Martin-led Steelers to battle the Titans and Jaguars for the AFC

Central title in just a few years.

In conclusion, I just hope to see all guys that brought a national title to

Knoxville do well - not only in the NFL, but, more importantly, in the game

of life.

Well, at least I hope they all remain out of jail.