Case Western quarterback Dan Whalen of Willoughby South High School is the latest client of Dayton-based agent Ron Todd to make the combine rounds without an invitation, like Akron native Rob Adamson of Mount Union did several years ago.
Earning a degree in English and hoping to become a sports writer, Whalen worked as a Browns public relations intern in 2009, getting quotes from the opposing quarterback and transcribing them on game day.
''I stood by Brett Favre's locker and waited for him to get out of the shower,'' Whalen said. Whalen said he never met coach Eric Mangini, with the closest chance coming against Cincinnati, when he had a field pass because the Browns needed someone to answer the phones. ''I was waiting for a big black box to ring,'' he said.
As for his locker room experience, Whalen said, ''The first couple weeks I was in awe, especially Brett Favre, he's my favorite player. But finally I said, 'I can picture myself in a locker room like this.' Seeing them on TV dehumanizes them, you put them on a pedestal. But seeing them in person starts to even things out. It built my confidence, that you don't have to be a freak of nature'' to play in the NFL.
Whalen, listed as 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, is being tutored by former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano. He said Rutigliano's best input has been on the mental side of the game.
Whalen said he never dreamed of the NFL until last March, when a scout from the New York Jets who also worked for the Blesto scouting service surprisingly showed up. Whalen took the Wunderlich test and said he finished it in eight minutes.
''It seemed a little trivial, mostly common sense type stuff,'' he said.
Whalen will work out at Ohio State's pro day on March 12, along with quarterbacks from Ashland and Edinboro, because the Buckeyes have no draft-eligible quarterbacks.