Several former Hawaii football players are in a state of perpetual free agency while awaiting resolution of the NFL labor dispute.
In accordance with the rules of the lockout, NFL teams are not allowed to negotiate with free agents. In past years, NFL teams would sign undrafted free agents within a few days after the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
"I’ll have to wait," safety Mana Silva said.
During the seventh round of the draft Saturday, Silva received calls from the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, indicating he might be picked. The selection did not materialize, leaving Silva in limbo.
Offensive lineman Laupepa Letuli shares Silva’s uncertainty. Early Saturday, the day the NFL conducted the final four rounds of the seven-round draft, several teams contacted Letuli. In one e-mail, the Kansas City Chiefs indicated they would sign Letuli to a free-agent contract if he were not drafted.
Now, Letuli said, "It’s up in the air."
The Chiefs are not permitted to contact Letuli or his agent until the lockout is lifted.
Letuli, who played as a sixth-year senior in 2010, participated as a guard and tackle in January’s East-West Shrine Game. He also had an impressive showing at UH’s pro day, when he was credited with bench-pressing 225 pounds 35 times.
Letuli lost about 30 pounds since the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl, and now weighs 306. He said he is trying to maintain fitness while training in Los Angeles. In the two months leading to pro day March 31, Letuli trained in Arizona.
Wideout Rodney Bradley also has continued his training schedule.
"I have to stay in shape," Bradley said. "Right now, pretty much like everybody else, I’m waiting on the lockout."
In the three weeks leading to the draft, 10 teams inquired about Bradley. He had a private workout with the Dallas Cowboys. Bradley said the Carolina Panthers showed the most interest. The Panthers selected Bradley’s UH teammate, slotback Kealoha Pilares, in the fifth round.
In 2009, his first UH season after transferring from a junior college, Bradley had 31 receptions for 575 yards, an average of 18.55 yards per catch, and five touchdowns in six games before suffering a serious leg injury.
In 2010, his production dropped to 48 catches for 511 yards (10.65 yards per reception) and one touchdown.
He said he was fully healthy last year.
"I know I was confident," Bradley said. "I don’t know how confident the play-calling was in me."