BC's Momah working to stand out for NFL scouts

710182.jpg

BC's Momah working to stand out for NFL scouts

Ifeanyi Momah is a striking specimen.

There weren't many people at Boston College Pro Day who didn't have a craned neck when speaking with the 6-6 Eagles receiver.

Momah should be pleased with the distinction; there was little else on Wednesday to remember him for.

A torn ACL in BC's 2011 opener left him sidelined for the season. The Eagles were playing Northwestern and Momah was having a field day: eight catches for a career-best 157 yards. The injury grounded him violently.

Momah, a fifth-year senior, had also sat out the 2009 season because of a bad knee. BC's application to the NCAA last year for another waiver and a sixth year of eligibility was denied. There simply wasn't enough medical documentation supporting his junior year redshirt.

Suddenly, it was NFL or nothing.

"I think early on it was kind of a mind-game because I wanted to make sure I was prepared for the worst," Momah said Wednesday. "I had a lot of good support groups -- my family, my friends, teammates -- and they all prepared me for this outcome.

"Throughout the whole process I was telling myself, if I don't get it, I just want to make sure I'm prepared and rehab as hard as I can, so when the time comes to go into the NFL I can show them what I can do."

Pro Day provided only a chance to weigh in and showcase his doorway-ducking height. No 40-yard dash, no receiver drills. Momah, as he has too often in his football career, was forced to watch and wait.

The longing reads plainly on his face.

"Right now I still have a little swelling in my left knee, so I'm going to do a little PRP Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to try and get the swelling out of there," he explained. "Dr. Andrews said a month from now would be probably the latest he sees me being able to try out for a team. I'm kind of excited about that, I'm just ready to get out there. Especially just sitting here watching -- it's kind of hard."

Dr. Andrews, of course, is James Andrews -- top orthopedic and sports medicine provider for athletes like Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning. A positive prognosis from Dr. Andrews' inspires confidence; Momah has a workout scheduled in April.

If teams show up, they show up, the receiver says.

His combination of hope and reality is a charming. Though he's only been able to offer his personality to the pros, you feel when talking to Momah that he at least has that working in his favor.

Like his candor about being a "medical case."

"I tell scouts the truth. I let them know the truth because I don't want to tell them a lie and have to go out there not 100-percent. I let them know every appointment that I have. I keep them updated on all this stuff."

And his attitude toward the NCAA's refusal to buy him more time.

"They gave me a reason and it's fair. I'm not bitter at all. I'm just trying to move on to the next chapter."

Momah just wants to get back to football. He wants to restore function to his impressive form.

"I know I haven't been able to show too much what I can do, but I have good speed. I have good height, can stretch the field and create mismatches. And that's what I'm going to build on to separate myself from the rest."

He knows it'll take much more than height to stand out in the NFL.

Celtics co-owner pleased with present, future of team

Celtics co-owner pleased with present, future of team

BOSTON – Like most of us around New England, Wyc Grousbeck heard all the early praise doled out on the Boston Celtics as being one of the elite teams in the East prior to this season starting. 

“I felt before the season that maybe we were being overrated,” Grousbeck, co-owner of the Celtics, told CSNNE.com. “That we were maybe a top-10 team in the league and the top few in the East, maybe. But it still felt like a longshot.”

And here they are, preparing to play Game No. 75 this season, against Milwaukee, with the best record (48-26) in the Eastern Conference. 

“They’ve grown into themselves,” Grousbeck said. “They’re playing better than I probably thought.”

But Grousbeck has been around the NBA long enough to know there is still much work to be done. After all, the Celtics’ focus remains on winning an NBA title. But Grousbeck is wise enough to know that while that is the goal, it often takes longer to accomplish than anyone – himself included – would like. 

It’s even trickier when you consider how the East is still relatively close despite their being just a handful of games remaining. 

“There’s a bunch of teams scuffling around in the East, and we’re scuffling around with them,” Grousbeck said. “We gotta do something in the playoffs.”

This will be Boston’s third straight season advancing to the postseason. Each of the first two appearances ended with a first-round exit. 

But this year is different. The Celtics are on pace to finish with home court advantage at least through the first round of the playoffs. But if they’re able to win the games they are favored throughout the remainder of this regular season, they will finish with the top seed in the East and with it, home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

And as we’ve seen of late, home court has indeed been an advantage for Boston which comes into tonight’s game having won its last seven at home, which includes the first four games of a current six-game home stand. 

The success Boston has had thus far has raised the expectations of many. 

And while Grousbeck certainly wants to see the Celtics have more success than they have had the last couple of years in the playoffs, there’s no mistaking he is pleased with the direction of the franchise that just four years ago was a lottery team.

“There’s no reason to put a ceiling on the season,” Grousbeck said. “I think this season already looks good to me. I love our coach. I love our young players. I love our draft picks and our potential cap room (this summer); all of our fans. So I’m already happy with where the team is going.

Grousbeck added with a grin, “If we can speed it up all the better.”

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Spotify

He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."