Unlike many well-known former NFL players who struggled mightily at the veteran combine Sunday in Phoenix, former Ravens and Tennessee Titans linebacker Brandon Copeland came away from the experience upbeat about his job prospects.
The former Gilman and University of Pennsylvania standout said in a telephone interview that he's weighing four contract offers from NFL teams after running the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. The Sykesville native said he spoke with the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and Titans.
Copeland was hoping to do even more at the combine, but testing was limited. He says he's done a 37-inch vertical leap and a 10-7 broad jump while training at TZ Sports with Troy Jones in Carroll County.
"I can't complain at all right now, even though I wanted to run faster," Copeland said from the Phoenix airport before returning home to Baltimore. "It was productive. It was definitely what I needed. it worked out for me. Running fast means nothing, though, until you find a home in the NFL.
"My phone's been ringing. It's been pretty good so far. I'm not going to say what teams, but four teams have offered me contracts so far. It was definitely successful for me to go to the veteran combine."
Signed by the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League this year, Copeland was last in the NFL on the Titans' practice squad last year before being released. He subsequently tried out for the Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers, but wasn't signed.
Copeland was with the Ravens in 2013 as an undrafted free agent and went through training camp before being released.
Copeland was measured at 6 feet 3, 246 pounds at the veteran combine, which he paid his own way to get to, along with a $400 entry fee.
Copeland auditioned along with several former NFL players, including Michael Sam, who ran a 5.1 in the 40-yard dash, and a group of former NFL running backs who ran slow times, including Felix Jones, Mikel Leshoure and Michael Bush.
"I can't speak to everyone's situation," said Copeland, a three-year starter at Penn who was an All-Ivy League selection. "For a guy like me sitting at home and training, I've been itching to get out and compete and have people watch me. The biggest thing for me is to show I'm healthy and I'm a different player than I was. Scouts look at you and make a judgment. They think they know the book on you.
"Coming out of college, I was a defensive end. My learning curve is so much different now. I've been getting my body right and just wanted to show them I'm a different player now. I'm a linebacker. I'm Brandon Copeland. I've changed my body. I wanted to reintroduce myself to NFL teams. You cherish every single moment and chance to compete and it worked out for me to be there. This was a step in the right direction."