With the kickoff to the NFL season right around the corner, Paul Salata emailed us to update us on this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. I figured the Indianapolis Colts had cut Justice Cunningham back in June during Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach.
When I opened the email, I did a double take. The founder of Irrelevant Week still uses an AOL email account.
Salata is old school. I bet the 86-year-old has a dial-up connection.
Back to the email, Salata attached two items on Cunningham, the last player selected in the NFL Draft. Salata broke the story into two pieces, the first three paragraphs in the first attachment and the rest of the story in the second.
Poor guy needs a PR person. Salata easily could have sent the link to the story in the email. Rather than read the two-part series on Cunningham via email, I searched for the story online.
I was dead wrong about Cunningham. Not only is he still with the Colts, he started a preseason game on Sunday. An injury to a starting tight end helped Cunningham get on the field after the opening kickoff against the Buffalo Bills.
A Mr. Irrelevant starting any game is big news to Salata. What topped that was having a previous Mr. Irrelevant complete a pass to the current Mr. Irrelevant.
Yeah, the Colts have two Mr. Irrelevants on their roster. One is a third-string quarterback, Chandler Harnish, Mr. Irrelevant in 2012, and the other is the third-string tight end.
Harnish and Cunningham might have made history of sorts, becoming the first Mr. Irrelevants to connect on a pass play during a game. Has it taken 37 years for that to happen? Mr. Irrelevant goes way back, to 1976, when Salata founded the dubious distinction to celebrate the underdog.
Cunningham, whose only catch went for 17 yards, might not be an underdog to make the Colts. This might be the start of something special for the former University of South Carolina player. Both of the Colts’ tight ends, Coby Fleener (concussion) and Dwayne Allen (foot), are dealing with injuries.
I’ve covered seven Mr. Irrelevants during their weeklong parties in Newport Beach and only a couple of them have actually gone on to start and contribute for an NFL team. There’s David Vobora, Mr. Irrelevant in 2008, who played linebacker for the St. Louis Rams, and Ryan Succop, Mr. Irrelevant in 2009, who is still kicking for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The rest of the players have lived up to the Mr. Irrelevant name. Salata doesn’t bother to send us emails on those guys anymore.