Leak looks forward to NFL future


Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

He completed only one more pass than Troy Smith did in the BCS national title game and his team was shut out, but Chris Leak enjoyed his experience at the Senior Bowl.

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The Associated Press

Returning to Gainesville Sunday before a quick turnaround and a flight to Miami this morning, Leak said despite the South's poor showing in the game, his week in Mobile, Ala., was a good one.

"My dad said the game is the least important part of the week," Leak said. "But it's always disappointing when you lose.

"The great thing for me was the whole week of practice, getting to know some NFL coaches. There were 17 teams that asked me to do interviews and I was pleased at that showing."

Leak was not only selected as the starting quarterback for the South team, but also the offensive captain by his teammates.

"That meant a lot to me," he said. "So did something Norv Turner said. He was our offensive coordinator and he told me not to worry about the height issue. He said my height (5-11 7/8 officially) is just fine for the NFL. He told me I was ready for the NFL, that I have what it takes. He's worked with a lot of great quarterbacks so that meant a lot.

"He told me I had a bright future in the league."

Leak's South team was shut out by the North 27-0 as he completed 5-of-9 passes for 23 yards and had a fumble in the rain Saturday.

"That's the way all-star game go sometimes," Leak said. "You don't get a lot of reps in practice with three quarterbacks dividing the time. But the whole thing really helped me out in terms of reading defenses and showing my arm strength.

"I really enjoyed myself there. There were a bunch of SEC guys on our team and three of my teammates gave me a level of comfort. It was a great week."

Next up for Leak is the Skills Challenge in Miami where he will compete in a taped contest that will be shown on ESPN. Florida's Chad Jackson competed last year in the event, which involved several different tests of skills for college athletes heading to the NFL.

It's the latest in the whirlwind that has been Leak's life since he helped Florida win the national championship.

"I'm going and going," he said. "This all is a really important piece of the puzzle. In just have to grind and grind."

Contact Pat Dooley at 374-5053 or dooleyp@gvillesun.com.

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