By Matt Cobbs - GoUpstate.com
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Updated: 6:29 am
Eric Young didn't get the call he hoped for during the NFL draft.
He did, however, get some good news shortly after the draft concluded Sunday evening.
Young, a Tennessee offensive lineman and Union product, signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent. He'll head to Cleveland on Thursday for a mini-camp.
"They're going to bring me in and get me healthy," Young said in a phone interview Monday. "So we'll see how it goes."
Young said the Browns had expressed interest in him prior to the draft. Because of his health situation, they more than likely weren't going to be able to draft him, though.
"I was on their board. But considering I wasn't healthy, it made it a different situation," he said.
Young tore his left quadriceps tendon on Oct. 27 against South Carolina. He's been in Atlanta for the past three weeks rehabbing the injury and said he's about "80 percent" recovered.
"(Cleveland) told me before the draft they liked me, but the injury kind of threw a monkey wrench in the situation," Young said. "If they didn't draft me, they planned on bringing me in anyway. They're taking a chance on me, and I'm hoping to make the most of it."
Young got the call from his agent at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. He had sat and watched the draft with his fiancee, waiting and wondering if he'd get picked.
"I told myself it was going to be a long shot," Young said. "Because of the injury, a lot of teams had taken me off their draft board. At first, I was kind of like, 'Oh my God, I didn't get drafted. … Am I going to have to look for a job?' But now, I'm a Cleveland Brown. In the end, everything worked itself out."
Two of Young's former coaches at Union - Kevin Lancaster and Mike Anthony - were each tuned into ESPN all weekend, watching the draft. They were each very disappointed when Young's name wasn't called out and equally thrilled when Cleveland signed him.
"No question, Cleveland got a steal," said Anthony, a former Union head football coach. "Sometimes it's a good position to be in (signing as an undrafted free agent). He got to choose where he wanted to go. It's an exciting feeling for everyone."
Lancaster was Young's offensive line coach at Union and remains very close to him. In fact, he said Young is "almost like his adopted son."
Needless to say, Lancaster was elated and relieved that the Browns called.
"It's a great feeling to know great things happen for great men," Lancaster said. "He had told me, 'Coach, if somebody will just give me an opportunity, I won't let them down.' I couldn't be more excited for him."
Young will work out in this week's mini-camp and meet with the Browns' team doctors to evaluate his injury. He'll do another camp at the end of May and expects to be fully healthy when the team reports for preseason camp in July.
Young (6-foot-4, 310 pounds) started 23 games in his career with the Vols. He started every game in 2006 at right tackle and then replaced All-American Arron Sears on the other tackle spot.
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