Spillman signs with Chargers
HUNTINGTON -- Appropriately, this weekend wrapped with at least one Marshall University standout joining the National Football League.
It hardly played out as expected, but mid-round NFL Draft prospect C.J. Spillman signed with the San Diego Chargers as a free agent. The rangy, sound-tackling free safety projected as a third- or fourth-round selection, but his name wasn't called during draft weekend.
San Diego quickly pounced, however, signing the 6-foot, 197-pound All-Conference USA selection minutes after the draft's conclusion. Saturday's Green-White Game coincided with a reunion of the undefeated 1999 Thundering Herd team, including current NFL veterans Chad Pennington, Chris Crocker and Chris Massey. They now are joined in the league by Spillman, who again expressed perspective following draft weekend. Prior to the draft, Spillman frankly stated, "I have no idea," of his status. After signing as a free agent, he opted for enthusiasm in lieu of disappointment.
"Other teams projected me as a third- or fourth-round prospect, but it boiled down to the medical issue," Spillman said, referencing playing through a broken-hand injury. "That's what it came down to, and when it was all said and done, I was able to look at the rosters and see what was the best fit and where I could make the roster."
Spillman interviewed with approximately 15 teams at the NFL Combine and subsequently spoke with representatives of the Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and the Chargers.
"They were right there with me the whole time and I felt that's where I'd fit in and make something happen," Spillman said.
Spillman leaves his Louisville, Ky., hometown next week for San Diego, taking part in full-pads workouts with fellow rookies and veterans. Keeping with his demeanor in the weeks leading to the draft, Spillman simply accepted his free agent status instead of expressing disappointment.
"I truly didn't have any control over it, and I don't worry about what I can't control," Spillman said. "I firmly believe in that, so now I have to take advantage of the opportunity I've been given."
Former Thundering Herd standout Darius Passmore, the team's leading wide receiver last season, also projected as a mid-round prospect but wasn't drafted. Passmore, who totaled 945 receiving yards and also participated in the NFL Combine, wasn't available for comment Sunday night.
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