NFL thirst unquenched

NEWPORT BEACH — Cheta Ozougwu walked into the bar at the Balboa Yacht Club on Thursday with his hands in his pockets. What use did he have for his hands? He doesn't drink alcohol.

Plus, without the hands inside the pockets of his jean shorts, they are empty. Ozougwu doesn't have much money right now. He hasn't received a contract from the Houston Texans because of the NFL lockout.

The last player taken in the NFL Draft is trying to earn a buck or two while in town as Mr. Irrelevant. Members of the Balboa Yacht Club found him work.

A beer can regatta was about to start in the harbor. No one at the bar really knew what the winner of the race won, just that the cans were Ozougwu's to recycle if he wanted to make some coin.

There must have been plenty of cans to collect because it was "Thirsty Thursday" for the sailors in the water. The only problem for Ozougwu was going to be retrieving the cans that fell off the boats and into the water.

Ozougwu doesn't know how to swim. Drinking then swimming just isn't his thing, which is a smart move.

What wasn't so smart was on the fourth and final day of Irrelevant Week, the organizers of the event just ignored what Ozougwu liked to do. After he sailed for the first time in his life, they wanted to put Ozougwu to work again in an area so foreign to him.

Ozougwu left behind his Amante sailing crew and he planned to check out two hot spots: 3-Thirty-3 Waterfront and SOL Cocina. Someone had the bright idea of having the 6-foot-2, 247-pound Ozougwu make drinks for customers.

Each restaurant might have had their liquor license revoked by the state if Ozougwu worked as a bartender. Ozougwu did need the hundreds of bottles to add to his recyclables and those large tips.

The only tips people gave Ozougwu were about football, a sport most never played past Pop Warner. Ozougwu still listened and nodded his head. Maybe he hoped to get more followers on Twitter.

It is hard enough to say his last name (oh-ZOO-goo) right, so can you imagine how hard it is for football fans to follow @Cheta_Ozougwu on Twitter. Ozougwu is one of the few football players thanking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell these days.

Goodell sent Ozougwu a watch with the NFL logo on it. Ozougwu hopes time isn't running out on the owners and players to agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to resolve the lockout.

The only way Ozougwu expects to make a living is by playing football. He is itching to begin his career on the next level as an outside linebacker.

"Start playing football, man. That's all I want to do," said Ozougwu, who is tired of having his hands stuck in his pockets.

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