Elimimian planning
to return to the islands


Thursday, February 24, 2005

» The NFL Draft will be held April 23-24, not in March as was reported in a story on Page B1 yesterday.

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Abraham Elimimian lives in Los Angeles now, where he was raised. But he isn't one of those University of Hawaii athletes who just stops by the islands for a few years to play sports, maybe go to some classes, and then never return.

The former Warriors cornerback's focus now is on preparing for the NFL combine, to which he reports Saturday in Indianapolis. But he still has time to ponder the future beyond, after the March NFL Draft and what he hopes is a long pro football career.

He plans to live in Hawaii in the future.

"I consider Hawaii my home now," said Elimimian, who graduated from UH with a degree in political science in December. "My family is here in L.A., and it's where I live, but I love Hawaii, and I hope to come back and help people there because a lot of people there helped me."

Two of them are UH head coach June Jones and defensive backs coach Rich Miano. Elimimian said he remains in contact with both as he gets ready for the combine.

"Coach Jones always said, 'Don't worry about a mistake, don't dwell on it. Move on to the next thing, because the next thing is always the most important thing.' That's good advice, especially for a cornerback," Elimimian said. "Coach Miano really cares about his players. Both of them played in the NFL, so they know what I'm going through now."

Elimimian said Miano is especially empathetic, because their situations are similar; both were not highly recruited out of high school, and continually improved at UH to become pro prospects.

"When he told me about the sleepless nights, I could definitely relate," Elimimian said. "I see it happening to me now."

The worst sleepless night for Miano was after the first day of the 1985 draft. He was picked on day two, in the sixth round by the New York Jets.

Elimimian hopes to shine brightly enough at the combine to be drafted on the first day (rounds one through three). But it is more likely his draft experience will mirror that of Miano, who went on to enjoy an 11-year NFL career as a safety. If a career like Miano's is the result, Elimimian won't mind at all.

"He could make a living as a special-teams player," Miano said. "But a Jacksonville Jaguars scout asked me if he could be their starting right cornerback next year. I said, 'Yeah.' "

Since his UH career ended last Dec. 24 with a good showing against potential first-round pick Roddy White in the Hawaii Bowl, Elimimian had a good game at the Senior Bowl and has continued to work out for the combine.

He's up to 192 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame after playing at 185 last season. Elimimian said it's good weight, because he's been very careful about his diet -- and that's the hardest part of what he's doing now.

"You have to focus on your goal. It doesn't get physically tough as much as it does mentally tough, tough on your psyche. You have to get your mind ready. The last three or four months have been physically tough," said Elimimian, who has also made sure to let a tender hamstring that dogged him most of last season heal completely.

Former UH quarterback Tim Chang and receiver Chad Owens will also be at the combine. So will Kahuku graduates Aaron Francisco (BYU safety) and Chris Kemoe'atu (Utah guard).

UH guard Uriah Moenoa did not get a late call to the combine, but he has been working out in California.

"I talk to Tim Chang and Uriah on a regular basis, we compare notes," Elimimian said.

The Warriors' "pro day," where potential draftees and free agents work out for NFL scouts and coaches once more before the draft, is March 18 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

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