MIAMI – By Sunday, Erik Lora was at the airport headed for Minnesota for his next football venture.
Saturday wasn't exactly a relaxing day either waiting through the final round of the NFL draft where the Eastern Illinois All-American receiver was not chosen but then getting a call to join the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.
“It was just hanging out and hanging with the family one last time,,” Lora said. “I was just enjoying the day but it worked out.
“It was a little nerve racking. I was anxious through the draft.”
His name was not called but teams were still interested with the Vikings showing the best offer.
“They called my agent and worked out a deal,” Lora said. “We thought Minnesota was the best opportunity.”
Lora as a junior set an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record with 136 catches for 1,664 yards in 2012 and followed that with 123 catches for 1,554 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior for EIU.
Now he is looking to show a 5-foot-10 receiver from an FCS school can play in the NFL.
“I am just going to go out there and do what I've done my whole life and see where the pieces fall,” Lora said.
Lora's free agent call came Saturday night after EIU's star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was chosen in Friday night's second round by the New England Patriots.
"I started playing quarterback my junior year in high school and Tom Brady is one of the players I have looked up to," Garoppolo said. "His poise in the pocket and how he takes control of the offense is how I have modeled my game.
"I would love the opportunity to be the next starting quarterback for the Patriots after Tom Brady."
The Patriots have given Garoppolo that chance.
Among those players invited to the NFL draft at New York, last seasons Walter Payton Trophy winner got to hear his name called in the second round on Friday night.
"It was unbelievable," Garoppolo said. "It is one of those experiences you don’t know how it’s going to feel until you go through it. You try to prepare for it, but in that moment you are speechless.
“Coach (Bill) Belichick called on the phone and asked if I wanted to be a Patriot. Obviously I said yes and I can’t wait to get to work."
Garoppolo made numerous trips to NFL facilities for workouts, including the Patriots.
"My visit to New England went really well," Garoppolo said. "It’s an unbelievable facility they have down there. Going into this draft I tried not to have too many expectations and let the chips fall where they do. A lot of trades were taking place so I tried not to think about it because that just will stress you out."
Now he knows his next destination and task at hand.
"I’m going to go in there and try to make myself better and better each day," the second-round pick said. "By doing that and getting better you can help the team get better.
"Going into the Patriots organization I’m going to prepare every day like I’m the starter and I think you have to have that mindset to compete and succeed. That has been how I have always prepared and I will continue to that with New England."