Toon(e)town for one day

TUSTIN — Inside a 17-story hangar, Tim Toone stood next to the Goodyear blimp for the first time. He never saw one hover above football games at Weber State when he played at the school in Ogden, Utah.

Toone said he now knows why after talking to the blimp's pilot, Matthew St. John.

"He just told me it's too high [an] elevation," Toone said. "He can't make it up there."

Before chiming in Thursday on how high the airship can fly, St. John laughed. Another reason why the blimp has not cruised above Weber State is the college is not a football powerhouse.

None of the mechanics at the hangar knew of Toone, the last player picked in the NFL Draft. Tony Sanico confused Toone, Mr. Irrelevant XXXV, for American Idol contestant Jason Castro.

The dreads looked so familiar to Sanico. He printed out an internet photo of Castro and raced over to Toone to ask for his autograph.

"[I] showed it to him and he got a kick out of it," said Sanico, who also was asked for his autograph.

A TV crew needed Sanico's signature for permission to use him in the footage it shot of Toone at the former Marine base in Tustin. Sanico signed and then one of his colleagues offered Toone a piece of the blimp.

Toone left the hangar with a patch of black fabric and a pass to ride the blimp on another day. Toone isn't sure if the pass expires. Maybe it will be good when Toone actually makes the Detroit Lions.

St. John missed out on his first chance to fly with an NFL player because the 11-year blimp pilot said the airship needed work. Well, according to Toone's mother, Leeann, Toone wouldn't have been St. John's first pro because Toone hasn't made it in the NFL.

"Does that count? He hasn't played yet," Leeann said as everyone around broke out laughing.

Toone's agent, Brett Tessler, wasn't amused.

"He's on the roster," Tessler told Leeann. "He counts."

Toone is getting closer to finding a home in Detroit. Tessler's cell phone rang all day as he was working on a deal for his client.

Tessler and Toone looked happy. Why not? The two were at Disneyland when reports surfaced that the wide receiver agreed to a three-year contract with the Lions.

The timing was ideal, Toone was hanging out in Mickey's Toontown. The town actually belonged to Toone.

Anything Toone wanted, he got.

The 255th pick went to the front of the line at two rides, the Mad Tea Party and Matterhorn Bobsleds. Toone spun around with his 9-year-old brother, Benjamin, leaving his agent behind with his parents, Steve and Leeann.

"Not scared," Toone said of the rides. "Tea Cups was fun, but the Matterhorn was more of a thrill ride.

"[You] get a little drop in your stomach every now and then."

The organizers of Irrelevant Week wanted to see if Toone could stomach the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Toone left Disneyland for the Balboa Bay Yacht Club for a beer can regatta in the evening. Toone doesn't drink alcohol, but he said he has been on a boat.

"We have a little sailboat at our house," said Toone, who is from Peoria, Ariz. "It would be fun to go out there [in the ocean] and be on a big boat."

Unlike Goodyear's out-of-service blimp, Toone won't have a problem finding a huge yacht in the Back Bay to ride.

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