Tulsa's BrennanMarion, an explosive receiver with 4.3 speed who set an NCAA record in 2007 foryards per catch, was a projected late-round pick in last month's NFL draft. Buta torn right ACL, suffered in December's Conference USA championship game,scared teams off, and Marion went undrafted. Though disappointed, he landed aninvitation to last week's Dolphins rookie minicamp. "It's not the worstthing I went through," he says of not being picked.
Not even close.Raised by a single mother who moved frequently, Marion attended a differentschool in the Pittsburgh area each year from grades six through 12. Onlylightly recruited as a senior at Greensburg Salem High, he relocated to the SanFrancisco Bay Area to play junior college football with his best friend, ChuckThompson. While at De Anza College they worked odd jobs, from construction tocar washing, but struggled to pay the $1,300 monthly rent on their studio andwere soon evicted. Homeless, they moved into the school's athletic facility,sleeping in the locker room when the janitor left the door unlocked and thepress box when he didn't. Marion and Thompson subsisted on the value menus atMcDonald's and Wendy's and occasional gifts of cookies or chips from a friendlyclerk at 7-Eleven. After three months a De Anza assistant, Darrell Williams,learned of his players' plight and invited them to live with his family.
After leading allCalifornia junior college players in receiving, Marion received a Division Ischolarship to Tulsa. That's where he met his fiancée, Fiamma Selitch, andwhere he will complete a degree in organizational studies this month. Withroom, board and a structured workout routine, the 5'11" Marion gained 30pounds (to 190) and became a more explosive vertical threat. In two seasonswith the Golden Hurricane he caught 82 passes for 2,356 yards and averaged 31.9yards per catch as a junior.
The ACL injurywas merely a small setback. Thanks to a rigorous rehab, Marion ran a4.52-second 40-yard dash just three months after surgery. He was still limpingat Dolphins minicamp but grades his knee at almost 90% and has a decent chanceto at least make the Miami practice squad. Says Marion of his circuitous routeto pro football, "It was worth the struggle."
Pitchers who can do it all
Brewers righty Yovani Gallardo (left) gave up two hits in eight innings againstthe Pirates—and accounted for the game's only offense with a homer in a 1--0win. The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano was impressive too: He threw seven sharp inningsand fell a triple short of the cycle in an 11--3 victory over Arizona.
Arizona's Micah Owings hits two home runs and strikes out seven in seveninnings in a 12--6 win over the Braves.
Dodgers lefty Odalis Perez holds the Diamondbacks scoreless and goes deep in a1--0 win; he's the last pitcher to account for a game's only run beforeGallardo.
The Phillies' Rick Wise tosses a no-hitter against the Reds and hits twohomers, driving in three in a 4--0 victory.
The Braves' Tony Cloninger belts two grand slams and gets the win in a 17--3rout of the Giants; he's the first NL player with a pair of grannies in agame.
Consecutive home wins to open the season for the Dodgers, the first NL team tostart 10--0 at home since the 1983 Braves.
Mexican professional soccer games played last weekend in empty stadiums; fanswere banned because of the swine flu outbreak.
Bases-loaded walks drawn by the Phillies so far in 2009, including ShaneVictorino's walk-off walk against the Mets last Saturday.
Bases-loaded walks drawn by the Phillies in 2008.
TV viewers, in millions, for Game 6 of the Bulls-Celtics series, making it themost-watched first-round NBA playoff game on cable.
Outs per half inning in Sunday's Williams-Amherst alumni baseball game, whichwas played under 1859 rules to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the schools'first meeting.
Score by which Williams won the game, thanks largely to another 150-year-oldrule: every batted ball is fair.
JOEL AUERBACH/US PRESSWIRE (MARION)
SPEED BUMP The fleet Marion was slowed—but not much—by a torn ACL.
SCOTT BOEHM/GETTY IMAGES (GALLARDO)