Jan. 14, 2014
Senior wide receiver Patrick Laird, a native of nearby Monroe, N.Y., is in St. Petersburg, Fla., this week preparing for the 89th East-West Shrine Game. Laird will provide periodic updates on his trip.
Continuing the long tradition of Black Knights' playing in the senior showcase, Laird is the 28th Army player to compete in the game. The East-West Shrine Game will be played Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. and the NFL Network will carry the contest. Laird is a member of the East squad, being coached by former Atlanta Falcons and Houston Oiler head coach Jerry Glanville. Laird has some company in Florida as Army's head equipment manager Nick Determan, will oversee the equipment needs of both teams. This marks the eighth straight season Determan has headed up the uniform and equipment oversight. Head football manager Zach Marciano is also in Florida assisting Determan.
I arrived in Florida on Saturday night and got the opportunity to meet some great players before settling into our hotel.
Our Sunday, we all went to the Shriners Hospital for Children and it was an amazing experience. We met all kinds of kids who have been through so much, many of them born with their disabilities, yet they go through every day with smiles on their faces and they aren't afraid to try anything. They are a real inspiration and really helped the players understand that this weekend is more than just a game and we are playing for them.
We have had to take all kinds of personality and intelligence tests, meet with scouts from every team in the NFL and agents from all over the country.
For me, it's not as much for the NFL potential as it is another chance to play football and meet some amazing players and great people. I've gotten to know a lot of guys here and have gotten close with a few, including my roommate Alex Bayer, a tight end from Bowling Green, Antwan Lowery a guard from Rutgers, Jeremy Gallon a fellow wide receiver from Michigan, and I've gotten to know all of the quarterbacks, Jordan lynch from Northern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois and Jeff Mathews from Cornell.
We had our first practice on Monday and it was very fast-paced and tiring but it was fun to be out there again.
The rain altered our practice plans for today. We were supposed to work out at a local high school but the rain forced us indoors. We ended up practicing in a big conference room at our resort and had a very fast-paced walk through.
I expect the rest of the week to be the similar, with practices in the mornings and meetings in the afternoon with meeting with scouts and agents later in the evening.
Thanks for reading.
#81 Patrick Laird