Tigers’ Ballentine NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant
New York, NY–With the final pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the University of Memphis’ Lonnie Ballentine was selected by the Houston Texans.
Along with the excitement of being an NFL Draft pick, Ballentine also receives additional attention for being the 256th and final selection of this year’s draft. The final pick is dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” and will be honored during a week of activities as part of Irrelevant Week this summer.
But that’s not to say Ballentine’s professional career will be irrelevant. Several players have made the teams who drafted them and have gone on to have careers which have included playing in the Super Bowl.
Ballentine brings to the Texans an impressive resume.
Over a four-year playing career, he logged 176 total tackles, intercepted three passes and broke up 13 others. He started all 12 games of his senior season at safety and ranked fifth overall in total tackles with 58 stops. Ballentine was one of seven Tiger players to register a tackle in every game during the season. He also had five pass breakups during the year.
As a junior, Ballentine was Memphis’ leading tackler in the secondary, finishing the season with 66 total tackles.
According to the website, http://www.theundefeated.org, Irrelevant Week was launched in 1976 by NFL alumnus Paul Salata and is an annual celebration recognized by the National Football League. It is the cornerstone of The Foundation for the Undefeated, a national nonprofit organization based in Newport Beach, Calif., that champions stories of perseverance in sports to inspire greatness in others.
“We established Irrelevant Week to drive home an important message – that it’s not a negative to be picked last in the NFL Draft; rather, it’s an honor to be drafted at all,” said Salata. “The last draft pick’s demonstration of perseverance is a lesson that resonates not only with NFL players and fans, but also with people everywhere.”
The Foundation for the Undefeated has donated more than $1 million to charities over the past three decades.
Ballentine and his family will be invited to Newport Beach for activities surrounding Irrelevant Week in early June including a tour of Disneyland, media opportunities at the NFL Network in Los Angeles, visits to the Foundation’s charity for 2014 and participating in a sailing regatta in Newport Harbor.
One of the highlights of the week will be the Lowsman Banquet, a gala benefiting the Foundation for the Undefeated’s charitable work. The Lowsman Trophy, which Ballentine will receive, is a parody of the Heisman Trophy and the gala serves as an opportunity to roast and toast the newest member of an exclusive club of players selected with the NFL’s final draft selection.