Hometown kid signs with NFL

Outside of my Kansas City Chiefs choosing what I deem a good player with their pick, I have never had much of a personal rooting interest in the National Football League draft.

I am fascinated by it, yet I don?t always watch all the coverage. I always follow along on my phone and see whom the Chiefs take and read about how he will fit into their plans.

My typical passing interest changed this year with Andale High School product B.J. Finney entering the fold of the draft.

I enjoyed speaking with Finney while covering him in high school, working for the local paper, The Clarion, and had a chance to cover a game and write about him while he was tearing up the Big 12 at K-State. My wife, Lindsey, has always had nice things to say about him from her time with Finney in the classroom while she taught at AHS, too.

Never before had I known someone entering the draft.

I did a little research and found that most people thought he would be drafted sometime after the third round.

So I dug in on that Saturday, at an event, with my phone set to refresh every minute to let me know who had been selected.

Pick after pick after pick came, and Finney?s name was never called. I was agonizing with each pick, so I can?t imagine how he felt with each passing team.

Then something amazing happened?he started hoping he wouldn?t get drafted. As the slots went away, it was more appealing to Finney to sign a free-agent deal, picking his own team, than to get drafted. So with about 10 picks left in the draft, he signed a deal with his favorite team growing up?unfortunately, not my Chiefs?the Pittsburg Steelers. His storybook career gets another amazing chapter.

Finney?s story is wonderful, and the nation loves it, too. Video taken during his announcement has gone viral nationally. B.J.?s story, and his reaction to signing with the Steelers, started with the Wichita Eagle?s coverage on Saturday, then national brands like ?Bleacher Report? and ESPN got a hold of it and started pushing it.

Finney has a way of pulling at people?s heart strings, and I am thrilled the nation is taking notice. I wish him the best of luck in the NFL, but he leaves me with a very difficult situation this year. The Steelers visit the Chiefs in October. I have never been torn to root against my Chiefs, but I am sure he will give me a reason to soon.

Joey Young is the publisher of the Free Press and The Clarion.