April 29, 2006
Americus -- Leonard Pope is a big man.
Standing 6' 8" and weighing 256 pounds, the Americus native stands out in a crowd.
It's draft day in the NFL, and with the former Georgia Bulldog tight-end expected to go on the first day, it only makes sense the big man has a big party.
On the day Leonard Pope will find out where he begins his professional football career, the Americus native decided to do something for the people that saw the beginning of his playing days.
Pope today hosting a draft-day party at Boone park in Americus, and with close to a thousand people turning out, it's a fitting celebration.
"It feels real good," says Pope. "Americus is my home town. a lot of people show me a lot of love, and that's what I'm trying to do right now, just give something back."
His young cousin Anthony Tyson says, "I'm glad people are celebrating, because he's a native of Americus and he's won a lot of championships for Staley and Americus High."
Leonard Pope fan Reshun Jones adds, "This is a good thing. He's just trying to do something for the kids. We're ready for him to get drafted, though."
Even with two big screen TV's set up to watch the draft, Pope says he's trying not to pay too close attention.
"I have a little bit, but I'm just trying to enjoy my time with the kids. Sign a couple of autographs. It's kind of crazy right now."
Pope says it's odd thinking about the future possibilities.
"Man, it's crazy. It seems like just yesterday I was in college, and now hopefully I can be a millionaire or what-not. It's a great time right now for me."
"He's going to still be good where ever he goes," says Jones. "It doesn't matter."
Pope says he doesn't have a preference on which team drafts him, but his cousin Tyson has already made his selection.
"I really want him to play for the Bengals, but anywhere really would be fine. I know he's going to do a good job and try to boost it up a little bit."
Leonard Pope was drafted today in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals with the 72rd pick overall.