Thomas not caught up in hype
Wisconsin LT Joe Thomas talks to Graham Bensinger about his reason for not attending the draft and his love for fishing.
Graham Bensinger interviews high-profile prospects leading up to this weekend's NFL draft. Today, he checks in with Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas.
Graham Bensinger: Getting invited to the NFL draft is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you turned it down. Why?
Joe Thomas: I'm not going to define my career by where I'm drafted on Saturday. I'm going to define it by how I do how many Super Bowls I win and how many Pro Bowls I go to. The NFL draft is pretty much a transition -- it's just a day where I find out where I'm going to be doing that.
Bensinger: How much consideration did you give to attending?
Thomas: Not much.
Bensinger: What made it least appealing?
Thomas: The fact that everyone tries to make it a big drama. Whoever seems to be having a bad day and slides automatically becomes the focus of all of the attention. It's not good attention.
Best part of college: Saturdays
Worst part of college: All the NCAA rules
Five people I'd most like to invite to dinner: Anthony Munoz, Vince Lombardi, my mom, dad and fiancée
Last book read: "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis
Last movie seen: "Blades of Glory"
Person most admired growing up: My father
Favorite video game: NCAA Football 07
If I weren't a football player, I'd be: A professional fisherman
Dream date (assuming you weren't engaged and had never met your fiancée): I can't answer that question (laughs)
Favorite meal: Fajitas
No one would expect that I: Will not go to N.Y. for the draft
• Scouting report
Thomas: Yeah, I watched last year. I think the whole NFL draft is kind of made out to be a little bigger deal than it should be. I felt kind of bad for some of those guys who thought they'd be up there in the top couple picks and became the focus because they weren't. It was like a train wreck the crash in NASCAR that everybody wants to see, but that wasn't good for the guy.
Bensinger: Tell me about your plans for Saturday?
Thomas: I'll be fishing with my father and a couple other guys.
Bensinger: Will the nerves be the same as they would be if you were at Radio City Music Hall?
Thomas: No, I don't think I was going to be nervous even if I was there. Maybe a little bit at the moment, but it will definitely be nice and relaxing. I'm anxious and excited. It will be fun to find out when I get the call.
Bensinger: How good of a fisher are you?
Thomas: I'm an excellent fisher.
Bensinger: What's been your best catch?
Thomas: My fiancée. (laughs)
Bensinger: (laughs) How about some of the coolest places you've fished? Besides the local nightclubs
Thomas: I've been fishing in Canada, Florida, off the California coast, the Caribbean -- I've been to a lot of pretty cool places in North America.
Bensinger: Tell me about this camera that's going to be on your boat on draft day.
Bensinger: Did they want it to be a live feed?
Thomas: Well, yeah. There were a lot of people who wanted to be on the boat. From the beginning, we said we didn't really want a camera, but then we thought about it and agreed to do it as long as it's not live.
Bensinger: Do you get discretion over what's released?
Thomas: I don't know, but it's not going to be anything crazy! It's going to be us fishing. You might see me get a phone call and shake a couple hands. It's not going to be popping the corks on champagne and smoking cigars or anything like that. (laughs)
Bensinger: How's the weather looking?
Thomas: It's supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny. I'm really looking forward to that.
Bensinger: What's the plan for after you're drafted?
Thomas: We'll go to the shore and have a little news conference with the local media people. I'll clean the fish, get cleaned up and get on a plane to whatever city I end up in.
Bensinger: What teams have contacted your agent recently?
Thomas: He talks to just about every team every day.
Bensinger: How much of an indication does he give you about what transpires in the talks?
Thomas: You could have the No. 1 team call you up and ask to start negotiating a contract, but that doesn't mean it wants to pick you. Everybody right now is trying to hold their cards close to their chest. They don't want anybody to find out what they're really thinking because they could really be in trouble if other teams find out.
Bensinger: You didn't go to Arizona to train and aren't going to New York City for the draft. I know you're very comfortable in Wisconsin. Considering you'll soon be in an unknown city, how much concern, if any, is there because you'll be out of your element?
Thomas: There's none. I'm excited to get involved and learn about all the neat little spots in the new city.
Bensinger: One person you'll be able to experience it all with is your soon-to-be wife. You're getting married in July. How'd you propose?
Thomas: I was down in Orlando for the College Football Awards Show during the beginning of December. We were out on a boardwalk that kind of goes around this lake, and that's when I proposed.
Bensinger: If you're getting married in July, with training camp coming up, what happens with the honeymoon?
Thomas: I'm getting married July 7th, so we're going to do a week in Switzerland right after that. That's kind of the down period that you get. It works pretty well.
Bensinger: Does she fish?
Thomas: She actually really enjoys it.
Graham Bensinger is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Visit his Web site at: TheGBShow.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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