Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/29/13
Matt Veldman DeQuan Menzie and Chaz Schilens three players fighting somewhat long odds to make the Lions’ 53-man roster have all had at least a taste of NFL life. Schilens was a seventh-round pick in 2008 and has managed to survive for five seasons. Menzie a key contributor on powerful Alabama teams was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and spent his rookie season on IR. Veldman was undrafted out of Division 2 North Dakota State and was one play from making the Jaguars last season. Here are their stories: Veldman’s tale will break your heart. The 24-year-old tight end from tiny Becker Minn. was one of the Cinderella stories in Jacksonville last summer. As unheralded as they come Veldman wowed the coaching staff which included current Lions’ tight end coach Bobby Johnson with his size (6-foot-6 255) speed toughness and work ethic. During the Jaguars’ third exhibition game after Veldman made yet another reception then-head coach Mike Mularkey said to his coaches over his headset “Looks like we found our third tight end.” Just a few plays later Veldman blew out his knee and had season-ending surgery. He spent the year on IR. “The hardest part of the whole rehab process for me was I had surgery and I was in my hotel room (in Jacksonville) still sore from all the surgery sitting there with my dad” Veldman said. “The first game Jacksonville played was in Minnesota. I would have played my first game in front of my entire family. “Through the whole thing the toughest part was I knew I wouldn’t have been out there for that game.” He was told of the coach’s headset comment for the first time on Saturday. “I didn’t know that” he said. “I knew I had put myself in a good position. I knew I put myself in a position where I was going to make the coaches make a hard decision if they were going to cut me.”
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