tampabay.com

Ex-FSU star baffled by NFL snubs

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published May 17, 2006


Former Florida State offensive guard Matt Meinrod is not accustomed to being overwhelmed.

But the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Meinrod, who can seemingly bench press and squat a Hyundai, has been knocked for a loss by the NFL. Nearly three weeks after the draft, he remains unemployed.

"I'm completely confused why nobody has taken a chance on me," he said.

He has a theory that's linked to a pitfall of the NFL salary cap: Signing a player coming off a serious injury carries a risk (a settlement that eats into the available finances if he can't return to the field) that exceeds the possible reward.

Meinrod, a standout at East Lake High, had injuries in successive seasons, a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in 2004 and a fractured left fibula and fractured and dislocated left ankle on Oct. 8 against Wake Forest.

Don West, Meinrod's Tampa-based agent, wasn't overly concerned when Meinrod wasn't drafted. He figured he'd have a free-agent deal by night's end. He didn't and not a single team was talking to him. He then launched a PR campaign on his Web site in an effort to create some buzz.

The key seems to be a note from Dr. Andrew H. Borom that West posted. Borom wrote that he saw Meinrod on Feb. 9 and the fracture was "fully healed" and his recovery was "complete." West has begun to field calls.

"I am fine. I am healthy. There's no problem in the ankle," Meinrod said. "Just give me a shot."

DOLPHIN CHARGED: Miami defensive tackle Keith Traylor is free on $5,000 bond after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal possession of the prescription drug Xanax, according to court documents in Pryor, Okla.

The 337-pound Traylor, 36, also was charged with felony injury to a public building for tearing a smoke detector off a wall while he was in jail after his arrest Saturday, said a spokeswoman for Mayes County District Attorney Gene Haynes.

SEMINOLE SIGNS: The Seattle Seahawks signed rookie free agent cornerback Gerard Ross and released offensive tackle Wayne Hunter and guard Kyle Ralph. Ross played 43 games at Florida State before missing the final five games of his 2005 senior season with a knee injury. Hunter was charged with misdemeanor assault following a dispute at a sports bar last weekend.

MCNAIR HEARING: An arbitrator in Nashville heard more than seven hours of testimony on whether the Tennessee Titans breached quarterback Steve McNair's contract by barring him from working out at the team's headquarters.

Richard Berthelsen, general counsel for the players' union, said arbitrator John Feerick hoped to return a decision by June 1.