The practice field at Saint Vincent College is long deserted. The veterans on the Pittsburgh Steelers have already showered for dinner, and the rest of the rookies and the last-chancers are close on their heels.
Markus Wheaton, however, is just getting started. Standing near the corner of the end zone, Wheaton spends 15 minutes catching passes off a machine, clapping his hands together when the ball buzzes through his gloves and onto the artificial turf.
NCAA rules cost the third-round draft pick out of Oregon State a chance to make a first impression. Instead, Wheaton will settle for making a lasting one.
The player tasked with providing the speed lost by the Steelers when Mike Wallace took his fast feet to Miami finds himself playing catch-up. The trimester system used at Oregon State didn't end until after the completion of organized team activities and minicamp.
NCAA bylaws prevent players from practicing with professionals until their academic year is over.
While the rest ...