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War Room: Fasano tells teams he’ll be tough guy and model citizen

Ken Fowler | Friday, April 28, 2006

Anthony Fasano wants two different personas in the NFL.

The former Notre Dame tight end has told the Jets, Redskins, Cowboys and Patriots that he’ll be a tough guy between the sidelines and a devoted member of the community off the field.

“I think I’m a real good teammate, where I can work with a lot of people,” Fasano said. “And with the way I play, I’m a [physical] every-down player.”

Ahead of Saturday’s draft, Fasano has interviewed with a slew of teams in both conferences, mostly in the two Eastern divisions. He said he has tried to get across the first part of that sentiment to the teams he met with in preparation for the draft.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound senior picked Athletes First to represent him exactly for that reason.

“They’re great guys, and that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made so far,” he said of his agents. “You never get lost in the mix. [It’s] really a family style type of place.”

Fasano said teams have asked him everything from what CD he has in his Walkman to the last book he read and the last nice thing he has done for somebody else.

Brian Murphy of Athletes First said he told Fasano to be himself when fielding questions in interviews because he believes teams will value the type of person Fasano is.

“Teams want players who are going to make an impact off the field,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s firm also represents Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and New York Giants receiver Amani Toomer, both of whom have earned praise for their involvement in the community. Palmer signed one of the NFL’s largest contract extensions this off-season that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2014. Murphy said one of Bengals owner Mike Brown’s reasons for giving Palmer the contract – reportedly valued at $49 million – was Palmer’s extensive community service and reputation as an upstanding citizen.

Murphy said to attract that type of person is a goal of the firm – and why Fasano fits in as a client.

But Murphy said he also knows Fasano has the skills to make an impact on the field. As a 1992 graduate from Notre Dame, Murphy said he watched Fasano develop as a receiver and blocker since the New Jersey native started three games in 2004 under Tyrone Willingham.

“What he has done this year under [Irish] coach [Charlie] Weis speaks for itself,” Murphy said.

Fasano gives Weis credit for teaching him how to study film better and how to be a professional.

“Coach Weis has done a lot for me not only in the way to prepare but a lot off the field,” Fasano said.

But even Fasano’s advantages don’t make him a sure-fire, early round pick. Murphy said the 2006 draft has as many quality tight ends of any draft he has seen.

Maryland’s Vernon Davis is expected to be a top-15 pick and the first tight end taken in the Draft. Davis is joined by Marcedes Lewis of UCLA, Leonard Pope of Georgia and Fasano as top-line prospects leaving college this year.

“Every team needs an all-around good tight end that’s willing to do blocking and pass catching the same,” Fasano said. “I think I do have the potential to be an impact player.”

Expected to be a middle-round pick in the NFL Draft, Fasano said he is excited to make the jump to the pros.

“Everything’s been going real well,” he said. “It’s been a great whole process for me.”

Fasano finished his career second among tight ends in Notre Dame history with 92 receptions. He averaged 12.2 yards a catch for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns in three years.

He had two touchdowns and 47 receptions in 2005 and was a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the best tight end in the country.

“I just want to get drafted as high as possible, and I hope someone drafts me on the first day,” Fasano said. “But you never know.”

Murphy said he advises all his clients who won’t be drafted early in the first round to stay active in the morning and then spend time with their families in the afternoon.

Fasano said he would take that advice.

“I probably will go play golf in the morning to stay away from the TV,” he said. “It’s just a long day.”