Cuero graduate not ready to give up on football
Sept. 8, 2010 at 4:08 a.m.
ADVOCATE-AREA NFL PLAYERSActive Roster
Shane Lechler, punter, East Bernard, Texas A&M, Oakland Raiders
Jerheme Urban, wide receiver, Stroman, Trinity, Kansas City Chiefs
Kellen Heard, defensive line, Wharton, Memphis, Oakland Raiders
Joe Jon Finley, tight end, Arlington High (Cuero), Oklahoma, Detroit Lions
Cody Wallace was hoping to be in Seattle this weekend beginning his third season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Instead, the Cuero High School graduate will be at home in Livermore, Calif., watching the game on television.
Wallace was one of 22 players released by the 49ers on Friday in their final roster cuts.
"It was mostly a numbers thing," Wallace said. "They had taken two guys in the first round. It's kind of hard. I was already toward the bottom of the depth chart. I guess if I had played better I would have been better off."
Wallace was not the only Advocate-area player to be cut loose by an NFL team last week.
Ganado graduate Blake Schlueter was waived by the Atlanta Falcons, Wharton graduate Kellen Heard was released by the Oakland Raiders, and Joe Jon Finley, the son of Victoria East coach Mickey Finley who played with Wallace at Cuero before moving to Arlington, was also let go by the 49ers.
Heard was able to rejoin the Raiders on the their practice squad, and the Detroit Lions signed Finley to their practice squad.
The Advocate-area has one player on an active NFL roster this season.
Shane Lechler, an East Bernard graduate, is entering his 11th season as the Raiders' punter.
Stroman graduate Jerheme Urban was prepared to begin his seventh season in the NFL and first as a wide receiver with the Kansas City Chiefs before tearing the flexor tendon on the ring finger on his right hand in the final exhibition game.
He was placed on the injured reserve list, meaning he can't play this season, and had surgery on Tuesday.
Wallace received a call from the Denver Broncos, but he's still hoping to find a place to play this season.
"I'm just kind of hanging out waiting to hear something," he said. "It's kind of a crazy time right now. I've been calling people I've known the last few years. I'm going to stay in the shape and hope for the best."
Wallace's release was another reminder of how difficult it is to play in the NFL.
Wallace was an all-Big 12 center at Texas A&M and was selected by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
But Wallace did not play as a rookie and was active for only one game last season.
"It usually came down to me and another guy," Wallace said. "He had some experience. He could also play guard. I was able to do some reps at guard, but they mostly looked at me as a center. It was just one of those things. They can only suit up seven guys on game day."
Wallace played at 295 pounds at Texas A&M and was able to get up to 318 during the offseason, but had a hard time maintaining the weight. He played in three preseason games before his release.
"You've really got to be good technique wise," Wallace said. "A lot of people don't realize how much better the defensive linemen are in the pros than in college.
"The other thing is you're playing for your job and your family. That's a big-time motivation difference."
Wallace isn't bitter and he's thankful for the opportunity to play for the 49ers.
He's hoping another team will give him the chance to continue his career.
"It's been great being out here," Wallace said. "I met my wife and everything has been going great. That's how this business is. I hope to go somewhere else and play for a while. I'll be prepared either way. I'm not giving up on it."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.