XFL San Francisco Demons Press Release 3

Press Release 3
First round picks are everywhere

When it comes to former first-round draft choices, the San Francisco Demons more than hold their own on the XFL landscape, but there’s even more than meets the eye.

Starting with Indiana’s Vaughn Dunbar in 1992, three current Demons were opening-round selections in the National Football, more than their share of the 14 who were available when the league conducted its first player draft in late October. Dunbar was the 21st overall selection that year by New Orleans and he led the Saints in rushing during his rookie season.

Three years later, Ohio State’s Craig Powell and Trezelle Jenkins of Michigan were consecutive picks in the 1995 draft, Powell going to Cleveland and Jenkins tabbed by Kansas City as selections No. 31 and 32. As impressive as that may be, the Demons can point to their entire football staff to make those numbers look even better.

Mel Owens, San Francisco’s director of football operations, and defensive line coach Keith Millard were even more highly sought after their collegiate careers.

Owens played nine seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (1981-89) after going as the No. 9 selection in the 1981 NFL draft. Millard was picked 13th overall by Minnesota in the 1985 proceedings.

Owens recorded four interceptions while starting regularly for the Rams throughout the 1980s. Millard was the NFL’s consensus defensive player of the year in 1989 and paced the Vikings in quarterback sacks in four of his first five years. He recorded 18 sacks during his dominating 1989 campaign.

“Guys who have played in the league have instant credibility, but you can’t fool them for long,” Head Coach Jim Skipper said. “You have to know your stuff. In the case of Keith, he has been gaining experience as a coach since he played and will do a great job for us.

“Mel could be doing anything with his life right now, he has a law degree,” Skipper added. “But he wanted to work in football. The players can sense when you’re committed to working with them and want to help them succeed. Both Mel and Keith already have done that.

“That’s one of the reasons we hired Mel and Keith. They are tireless workers who want to see the Demons and the league flourish,” the coached added. “That’s what we all want to do.”

Millard is still an imposing figure, playing defensive tackle with the Vikings, Packers and Eagles at 6-5 and 265 pounds. Owens, however, appears as much like a player in corporate America as a linebacker in the NFL, trimming down from his 235-pound playing weight.

Owens started six seasons with the Rams at inside and outside linebacker. He has been involved with trying to bring college football to Rio deJaniero and youth football camps since ending his playing days.

In fact, Owens’ co-workers in the Demons’ front office would be surprised to learn of Mel’s football lineage as a player because he’s so totally inobtrusive about his accomplishments. “I don’t have any memorabilia in my house,” says Owens, who lives in downtown San Francisco. “My dad has it all.”

DEMONS’ NOTES . . . . . Veteran wide receiver Calvin Schexnayder arrived in camp during practice Thursday and had his own car at Pacific Bell Park. After practice during rush hour, he was going to follow a member of the administration back to Demons’ hotel in downtown San Francisco just 10 blocks away. When they missed one of their turns not far from the park, an unintended detour resulted in a 90-minute excursion back to the hotel. “Calvin almost missed dinner,” said director of operations Mel Owens. “I thought he was in good hands getting back.” Obviously, the experience only solidified Coach Jim Skipper’s edict that all players ride the bus to and from practice . . . . . Demons’ quarterback Mike Pawlawski will miss Saturday’s workouts to join veteran Barry Tompkins as the announce team for the Cal-Stanford football game in Berkeley on KGO-TV (ABC) and Fox Sports Bay Area . . . . . Jay Howarth, the XFL’s cheerleader coordinator, was a guest of a popular radio morning show and not surprisingly was asked if cheerleaders would indeed be able date the players. “It happens in the NFL, but they don’t say much about it,” she explained. “Vince (McMahon) just said it wasn’t going to be prohibited in the XFL. You can’t tell people who they can date” . . . . . Tight end Richard O’Donnell was the first casualty of the Demons’ mini-camp, suffering torn ligaments and a bone chip in his right thumb when he slipped on the turf. He will have surgery Monday to place a pin in his thumb, then take part in the second December workouts with a soft cast . . . . . Marcus McKenzie, one of three centers in the first mini-camp, resided in the Minneapolis, Minn., suburb of Richfield. He moved to the state after the gubernatorial election that place Jesse Ventura in office. “The media just wants to focus on the other things he does,” said McKenzie. “But he seems like a pretty sharp guy, he knows what he’s talking about.”


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