Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Duke Lemmens, a Florida product, may have an uphill battle making the team given his position on the depth chart — “There are a lot of good players and not too many spots,” he said — but it’s safe to say he won’t be forgotten. Well, kind of.
While Duke seems like a pretty unique moniker, Lemmens isn’t being called Duke. Thanks to his look — seen below, No. 39 — he’s being called “Kenny G.”
“Yeah, they call me ‘Kenny G,’ and sometimes the coaches don’t even put the ‘G’ on and just call me Kenny,” Lemmens said. “And they’re surprised when I don’t respond when they ask me to do something, but it’s not my natural name. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what you guys are talking about.’ ”
But, Lemmens admits, “as long as they remember me somehow, I don’t care.”
“I’m just trying to get noticed any way I can,” he said. “The strength coach (John Lott) the first day called me ‘Carrot Top’ and I thought that was going to stick, but it seems like ‘Kenny G’ has been the winner lately. Some guys have been trying to call me ‘Weird Al’ lately.”
At practice last week, defensive coordinator Ray Horton bellowed for “Kenny G” to move somewhere during a walk-through, and did so without the hint of a smile. Lemmens might has well officially change his name, at least as a Cardinal in Flagstaff. He won’t be changing his look, though, as long as he’s in the NFL.
“It’s my last shot before the real world,” Lemmens said. “I don’t know when that will happen and I’ll never be able to grow out my hair again, so ideally I’d like to grow it out for many more years and not care about anything. We’ll see.
“All I can control is my reps and my effort,” Lemmens added. “I pride myself on two things I can control: How hard I go and how tough I am.”
Not exactly words you’d ever expect Kenny G to utter.
Tags: Duke Lemmens, Ray Horton, undrafted rookie free agents
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Tight end Stephen Skelton of Fordham and safety Jared Campbell of Miami — brothers of current Cards John Skelton and Calais Campbell — are among the 21 undrafted rookies the team has signed for training camp.
The rest of the lengthy list includes:
- Northern Arizona WR Daiveun Curry-Chapman
- Fresno State CB Desia Dunn
- Baylor P Derek Epperson
- Wofford S Tommy Irvin
- Elon WR Sean Jeffcoat
- Florida LB Duke Lemmens
- Kentucky DT Ricky Lumpkin
- Oklahoma T Eric Mensik
- Syracuse CB Da’Mon Merkerson
- Oregon State WR Aaron Nichols
- UMass G Greg Niland
- USC C Kris O’Dowd
- Kansas State RB William Powell
- BYU S Andrew Rich
- Florida State LB Kendall Smith
- BYU T Jason Speredon
- Kansas T Brad Thorson
- N.C. State G Jake Vermiglio
- Michigan State T D.J. Young
As has been mentioned before, all rookies are going to have an uphill climb this season because of the lack of offseason work. Undrafted guys usually have a tougher time anyway.
Tags: Aaron Nichols, Andrew Rich, Brad Thorson, D.J. Young, Da'Mon Merkerson, Daiveun Curry-Chapman, Derek Epperson, Desia Dunn, Duke Lemmens, Eric Mensik, Greg Niland, Jake Vermiglio, Jared Campbell, Jason Speredon, Kendall Smith, Kris O'Dowd, Ricky Lumpkin, Sean Jeffcoat, Stephen Skelton, Tommy Irvin, William Powell
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