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Mr. Irrelevant Caleb Wilson welcomed to Newport Beach

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Caleb Wilson, aka Mr. Irrelevant, receives a water bottle as part of his essentials for surviving training camp with the Arizona Cardinals during Monday’s Welcome to Newport Beach party at Balboa Bay Resort.
(Spencer Grant)

Caleb Wilson, the 44th member of the Mr. Irrelevant fraternity, held court at the Welcome to Newport Beach party on Monday night at Balboa Bay Resort.

The 254th overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals and last pick of the 2019 NFL Draft made a grand entrance, arriving in style on a yacht that had taken him and his family out to sea.

When he stepped onto the dock, Wilson was greeted by the Costa Mesa High cheerleading squad, as well as his many adoring fans.

It would not be Irrelevant Week, however, without a good balance of roasting and toasting. One theme of the week has been “A House Divided,” recognizing the fact that Wilson began his college football career as a preferred walk-on at USC before moving across town to rival UCLA.

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The fight songs for both UCLA and USC were blasted on speakers as Wilson made his way to the stage.

“They were giving me a hard time, but it was a neat experience,” Wilson said. “The banquet itself, that was awesome. I really had nothing to complain about.”

Wilson ascended the stage, where he hopped into an oversized black beach chair that could have been mistaken for the throne. Wilson, a tight end, said that he had never been the center of attention before, but he was serenaded like a king with more gifts than he could count.

Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon presented Wilson with a key to the city. Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis handed him a “Get Out of Jail Free” certificate, the expiration date for which was June 30, the day prior to the ceremony.

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With the Fourth of July approaching, Newport Beach Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Boyles gave Wilson what appeared, at first glance, to be a sizable box of fireworks. He reminded Wilson, though, that fireworks are illegal in Newport Beach. Instead, the box was filled with assorted essentials for surviving training camp, including a first-aid kit.

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Emcee Antonio Lopez, left, gives Caleb Wilson a Bruin teddy bear from their alma mater UCLA during Mr. Irrelevant's Welcome to Newport Beach party on Monday at Balboa Bay Resort.
(Spencer Grant)

Also among the more creative gifts presented was a package that included bird food and a birdcage. The suggested reasoning for the gift was that Wilson would have to learn to live like a bird before he could become a true Cardinal.

“Like they said, there were some irrelevant gifts, but they were all meaningful,” Wilson said. “I really appreciate them. Maybe if I get a house out in Arizona, I’ll set me up a birdcage outside.”

Wilson also received a custom surfboard from Wayne Smith, who was asked to speak briefly about his part in the Irrelevant Week tradition. Smith had another moment later in the festivities, when he predicted correctly that his raffle ticket would be pulled. He won a Table Top Coin Toss drinking game set, which included a bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

Wilson’s parents, Chris and Tina, celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary on Monday. At the end of the evening, Wilson’s mom was given a necklace from Nicole Hellmich, the designer for Perlabella Jewelry.

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A "Welcome Mr. Irrelevant" banner greets Caleb Wilson on Monday at Balboa Bay Resort.
(Spencer Grant)

As time goes on, a marriage takes on a host of purposes, not the least of which is raising kids. Chris and Tina have seen their son earn a degree in sociology from UCLA and get drafted into the NFL, and their daughter, Colby, just completed her first year as a center back on the women’s soccer team at Eastern Washington.

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“Really, it’s your biggest investment,” Chris said of seeing his kids achieve their dreams. “We’ve invested a lot into them, and they’ve taken advantage of their situation. I believe that they still are.

“It makes you proud that they take advantage of the opportunities that they have.”

Apart from Wilson and Irrelevant Week founder Paul Salata, the next most popular guest might have been this year’s underdog. The sheepadoodle was born on Valentine’s Day last year, and the therapy dog was brought home on the day of Shohei Ohtani’s home pitching debut for the Los Angeles Angels in his rookie season.

Hence, the sheepadoodle was named Ohtani, and the dog even has its own Instagram page (Ohmazing_Ohtani).

Wilson also threw out the “Last Pitch” at the Angels game on Sunday.

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Caleb Wilson, second to left, arrives to his Welcome to Newport Beach party on a yacht named "The Whistle" on Monday.
(Spencer Grant)

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andrew.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @ProfessorTurner


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