William Pollard has the right size, the right football background and the versatility that helps players fill roster spots in the Canadian Football League. During the next three weeks, Pollard will find out if he has the right stuff to make the Baltimore Football Club.
With 37 veterans reporting today to two-a-day workouts at Towson State, Pollard is anxious to prove he belongs. Based on the early critiques of coach Don Matthews, Pollard is one rookie who is making camp interesting.
Pollard, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound player out of Notre Dame, comes to Baltimore by way of Saskatchewan, where he was released last summer as a slotback, since that position was designated as all-Canadian by the club. Baltimore brought him in to challenge returning fullback Reggie Perry as the backup to Peter Tuipulotu, and Pollard has had his share of good moments.
"He's got good size, good speed. He's a bright kid who can play fullback or slot, and [Notre Dame coach] Lou Holtz said he was the best special teams player he's ever coached," Matthews said. "He can do three things. He's having an excellent camp."
"I'm thankful for the opportunities I get, said Pollard, 24. "It always helps when a coach recognizes you as a hard worker, no matter what position he puts you in. "
Bryant turns heads
Linebacker figures to be one of the tougher positions to crack, with six returners due back today. That hasn't stopped rookie Jason Bryant from grabbing attention.
Bryant turned a few heads with his enthusiasm on opening day, when he threw several receivers to the ground, even though it was a no-pads workout. Since then, Bryant, a converted free safety out of Morehouse College, has earned high marks for his quickness and coverage skills.
"I didn't come here to make the team. My whole thing is to start," said Bryant, 6-2, 210. "I'm trying to make the coaches know I want to play. I can't be passive."
No. 76 comes up empty
Maybe it's the number, but jersey No. 76 has yet to be attached to good news so far in camp.
The first player designated to wear it was offensive lineman Joel Wilks, who started on Nebraska's national championship team last fall. Wilks never signed with Baltimore, having told the club the night before rookie camp that he wasn't interested in playing football. The team replaced him with former Maryland lineman Jade Dubis, who lasted one day before quitting. Next, they brought in David Vertin, a 6-7, 275-pound player out of Minnesota, but No. 76 suffered a knee sprain on Tuesday and missed yesterday's practices.