May. 3, 2005
Columbia, S.C. – For a span of about two hours immediately after the 2005 NFL Draft, Gamecock offensive lineman Jonathan Alston sat by the phone ready to hear news on which team’s roster he would get a shot at making as a free agent. After all, several teams had shown interest in him leading up to the draft, and he even received a phone call during the draft from one prominent franchise letting him know that they were considering picking him.
It was a long two hours indeed, but the phone finally rang.
“My agent, Philip Wickstrom, called me up about two hours after the draft and told me that the Washington Redskins invited me to mini-camp,” Alston said. “Usually I don’t pick up the phone on the first ring. I like to let it ring about two or three times before I answer, but I don’t even think the first ring even finished before I picked it up.”
Alston said the Redskins were one of the teams that contacted him leading up to the draft. The Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys also expressed interest.
“My agent had done a lot of homework before to the draft to see who needed offensive linemen and where I might end up,” Alston said. “One of the things that is good about being an undrafted free agent is that you have more of a choice of where you go. We had some different choices and decided that Washington would be the best fit as far as the offensive line goes.”
Though final rosters are still a long way from being decided, Alston was one of three offensive linemen to get through the Redskins’ mini-camp held this past weekend. He said about 50 players competed for roster spots, including eight-to-10 offensive linemen. He has not yet signed a contract, but anticipates that being done in the middle of the week.
“Everything went well up there. They run a lot of plays similar to what I was used to at South Carolina,” Alston said. “I just went out there and gave my all. Working with Coach (Joe) Bugel was a great experience and sitting there as Coach (Joe) Gibbs was drawing up plays and knowing how much of a coaching icon he is really made me realize that this was a dream come true.”
Alston, who is reserved by nature, said he watched the draft with his immediate family at his mother’s house, adding that his mother cooked about every kind of food imaginable for the big day.
“It was real laid back, and that’s how I wanted it,” Alston said. “I have been staying very low-key since the season ended, and have been working out a lot. I am going to just keep working hard until we get into the next mini-camp and hopefully, into the season.”