ON SPORTS: With camp approaching, Urban still looking
June 20, 2012 at 1:20 a.m.
Jerheme Urban recalls attending a football camp at the University of Houston before his sophomore and junior seasons at Stroman High School.
One of the instructors at the camp was Rice quarterbacks coach David Lee.
The next time Urban saw Lee was at Valley Ranch when he was in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys.
Lee had become the quarterbacks coach for the Cowboys and remembered Urban.
"We kind of made eye contact and he recognized me," Urban said. "You want to take advantage of every opportunity because you never know what can happen."
Urban, 31, has spent nine seasons in the NFL since signing with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent out of Trinity University.
He has caught 91 passes for 1,266 yards and nine touchdowns and played for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 Super Bowl.
But as Urban prepares to return to Victoria from his San Antonio home for his annual free-of-charge football camp on Saturday at Victoria West High School, he is uncertain if his pro football career will continue.
Urban played sparingly for the Kansas City Chiefs in the final season of a two-year contract in 2011 and has yet to find a team.
"We've reached out and talked to a handful of teams," Urban said. "The glass half-full approach would be nobody has said no. I'm on the list of a number of teams who want to see how their young guys do. I would hope we could talk before training camp.
"If you look at it like the glass is half-empty, I have not signed and have not worked out for anybody," he continued. "But I've been around long enough to know that can change. My off-season has been great and my hope is to make a team in training camp."
Urban's best chance would figure to come with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Todd Haley has become the offensive coordinator.
Urban played under Haley in Dallas, Arizona and Kansas City. But he will be ready if any team calls.
"There's a difference for everybody when it comes to being in training camp shape and putting on pads," Urban said. "I've gone through this routine before. That's a good confidence thing for me. It's a very similar program and I think last year I was the best-conditioned guy on the team. I think someone like Todd would have confidence knowing if they were to call me for a late mini-camp or in training camp that conditioning is not going to be an issue."
Urban knows he can't play forever and has started to prepare for the future.
He and younger brother, Caleb, are conditioning with about 20 players from Trinity. If he doesn't sign, he will assist Trinity coach Steve Mohr in the 2012 season.
"My thought process is I'll give myself a year from my previous time," Urban said. "I'm going to work extremely hard through training camp and I'll be ready if anybody calls. I'll keep training on maintenance throughout the seasons.
"If nothing happens, I'm going to be a part-time coach at Trinity.," he added. "I'll kind of segue into the profession. I'll be there watching film and breaking stuff down. It will help keep my mind sharp and make it kind of a seamless transition."
Urban's camp is entering its fifth year and he will again enlist the help of high school coaches and former teammates at Trinity.
The camp will include on-the-field drills and fundamentals, video study, life skills, and a question-and-answer session.
"I don't think that people realize how many hours you put in getting ready for a camp," Urban said. "The only way you can do that is if you still get excited. It's a way for me to give back to the community that I grew up in and that still supports me.
"I enjoy it. I like coming down and working with these kids. As much as it seems like a long time ago for me, it really wasn't. I remember when I was in their position and dreaming about playing college football."
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.