Life in the NFL

By Ashley Lelie

First game out of the
way for Denver’s Lelie

MY mom, Netta, came into town two days before our game against St. Louis, so when I wasn't practicing and going to meetings, I was mainly hanging out with my mom and my girlfriend, Jenny Gross. Her dad teaches at Punahou.

The day before the game, we went to meetings, just like in college, and watched film.

And then we stayed in the hotel for the night; the coach wanted to make sure we stayed off our feet and got a good night's rest.

I didn't stress too much the night before the game. It was my time to relax and keep my mind clear.

Then we got up in the morning about 8 or 9 and had the pregame meal. This time, because it's an afternoon game, our pregame meal was breakfast, so I ate a little bit, had some cereal, and then I went back home to just relax a little bit more. The hotel is right by the practice complex and we all live within 10 minutes of that.

I had to be at the stadium at noon for the 2 p.m. game, and when I got there, I got a massage on my hamstrings and stretched them a bit.

Then, we went out as a team for warmups.

As we were walking onto the field for the start of the game, I just kept trying to keep myself relaxed and calm, telling myself to go have fun.

In the game, I got in 20 plays out of about 60, mostly when Rod (Smith) got tired and needed some wind or when three wideouts went in on third down sometimes.

Rod usually came out after a big play, a big run or a big pass catch, so I mostly went in on run plays.

The ball didn't get thrown to me, but throwing to me wasn't really needed. I'm cool with that because I want to help the team any way I can. I gotta wait my turn.

The defense made some real big plays and that made the difference in the game. They stopped the Rams a couple of times in the red zone, with some really key plays.

The offense wasn't great, but we were consistent and made the plays when we needed to and that was good.

My first play in, I made a cut-block and that was the only real contact I had all day.

Coach (Mike) Shanahan had told us before the game that this was a great chance to prove that we're a good team and show how far we've come along, and we succeeded in doing what he asked of us.

In my spare time, I sometimes hang out with some of the guys, like (wide receiver) Scottie Montgomery, (cornerback) Lenny Walls and (safety) Sam Brandon. We watch TV and joke around, but mainly I hang out with Jenny at the house.

(Predrag) Savo (Savovic, former Hawaii basketball star, now with the Denver Nuggets) called today (Monday) and said, "What's up?"

We finally got our (Denver) phone numbers for the first time, and we're going to get together after our next home game.

I met Savo on my first day at UH, checking into the dorms my first year. We're good friends.

I'm not really thinking about the next game (at San Francisco) yet. We're still trying to get over this last one.

Former University of Hawaii receiver Ashley Lelie
was selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos in
the NFL Draft. His diary will appear in the Star-Bulletin
each Tuesday following Sunday games.

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