Former Beaufort High School standout Sam Pope took another step in his journey to reach the NFL, joining about 110 other hopefuls at a tryout for the Buffalo Bills last Thursday.
According to Pope's agent adviser, Albert Thomas, the Bills are expected to contact Pope by week's end as to whether or not he made the team. Pope could not be reached for comment on Monday, but indications are that the speedy, powerful safety from Hampton University had a good showing last week.
Should things not work out with the Bills, Thomas said that Pope has another professional suitor a bit further north in the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.
"Montreal kept calling him, trying to bring (Pope) up for a workout at their practice last weekend," Thomas said in a Monday phone interview, "but since he was trying out in Buffalo, he couldn't get up there. Montreal really wanted to get him in for a workout before their preseason game (Tuesday), but we'll see what they and the Bills have to say at the end of the week. We're pretty optimistic."
Either situation would prove promising for Pope.
The Bills have great expectations for the upcoming season after signing All-Pro wideout Terrell Owens, while the Alouettes are coming off an apperance in last year's Grey Cup (the CFL's version of the Super Bowl). Montreal boasts former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak as well as a childhood friend of mine in former Virginia Tech tailback Mike Imoh, who told me good things about his first season with the Alouettes.
Pope, a 5-foot-11, 192-pounder who earned all-MEAC first-team honors at Hampton, attended the Green Bay Packers rookie camp for undrafted free agents in May but was not one of the four rookies signed out of the 22 in attendance.
Stay tuned to my blog and the Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet for more updates on Pope's quest toward the professional football ranks.