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Q&A: Hoag remains in game

Mr. Irrelevant XXVIII, preparing for his second season in the UFL, visits Newport Beach to support Toone, Irrelevant Week.

When Ryan Hoag recently racked up enough airline flight miles to gain a free flight, he knew where he wanted to go: Newport Beach.

Hoag has always looked back on his days as Mr. Irrelevant XXVIII with great fondness.

He has some free time before the season starts with the UFL. He's a wide receiver for the Omaha Nighthawks. Training camp begins Aug. 19.

He called Melanie Salata-Fitch, CEO of Irrelevant Week, and asked if he could be included during Irrelevant Week and support Mr. Irrelevant XXXV Tim Toone, also a wide receiver.

Hoag sat at the celebrity table atop a podium at the All-Star Lowsman Trophy Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa. He sat next to Jim Finn, Mr. Irrelevant XXIV.

It was easy for Hoag to gain a free flight to Orange County. He has logged plenty of miles.

After being drafted No. 262 by the Oakland Raiders in 2003, he later went on to play for the New York Giants (2003-04), Minnesota Vikings (2004-06), Washington Redskins (2006-07) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2008). He also played for NFL Europe, in an arena league and in the CFL. Last year, he played for the New York Sentinels in the UFL.

He answered a few questions during the banquet.

Question: What's it feel like to be back here for Irrelevant Week?

Answer: It's the gift that keeps on giving. They still treat me like I'm the current Mr. Irrelevant. They roll out the red carpet for me. I feel blessed every time I have a chance to hang out with Mel and Paul [Salata], and the current Mr. Irrelevant.

Q: When you think of Irrelevant Week what were some of the highlights for you?

A: First and foremost getting time to spend with my friends and family and the Salata family. Them treating me as wonderful as they do.

I was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. I was the announcer and he interviewed me as well. That was a lot of fun

My year was the first-ever Heisman-Lowsman banquet with Carson Palmer, the first pick, and me the Lowsman, the last pick. There were 1,200 people and I got to speak in front of them. That was a special moment.

Q: How would you describe your experience as a pro football player, playing in the NFL, arena leagues and the UFL?

A: It's truly irrelevant to be honest with you. I played for five NFL teams, three arena teams, one Canadian team, two UFL teams and an NFL Europe team over eight years. It's been quite a ride. I was one of 262 people to be drafted. Granted I was last but there were 10,000 who wanted to get drafted and be in my shoes. That's what I've taken with a grain of salt donning that title and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Q: What was it like to play with Jerry Rice?

A: To be able to say that I've played with Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, not a lot of people can say that. You throw in Tim Brown in there and some legends like Jim Finn (laughs), Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, London Fletcher. I've played with some amazing players, guys who are first-round Hall of Famers.

It's been a ride. I'm enjoying every minute of it and it hasn't derailed yet.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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