By Todd Stanford
The Daily Item
---- — PITTSBURGH -- As spring begins to turn into summer, Henry Hynoski is still playing the waiting game.
Hynoski, the Southern Columbia graduate and former Pitt fullback, didn't hear his name called in last month's NFL draft. As a result, he's still not sure where he'll end up when the league's current labor dispute ends.
"It really is frustrating," says Hynoski, who graduated from Pitt this year with a degree in business marketing. "Especially since though the whole process ... everybody I talked to thought I'd be a fifth-round pick. It didn't happen, so it's frustrating from that standpoint."
Nevertheless, when the current lockout finally ends, Hynoski won't be hurting for suitors. During a brief period in April in which U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson ended the lockout (a decision quickly reversed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals), Hynoski was contacted by 20 teams, including the Steelers and Eagles.
"Once it ends, I should be signed shortly after that," he says. "It's just me picking the right fit, the right situation.
"I'll be talking back and forth with my agent (Drew Smith of Goal Line Management in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) on the best options for me."
Indeed, Hynoski says there are some advantages to be a rookie free agent as opposed to being a late-round pick.
"You get to pick your situation," he says. "You might get drafted by a team where there's a couple of veterans ahead of you."
Asked if he had any idea when the lockout might end, Hynoski says that he hears late June.
"That's the common consensus," he says, "but you just never know."
The 6-foot, 255-pound running back was an integral part of four state champion teams at Southern Columbia. He finished his high school career with more than 7,000 career rushing yards, but -- after taking a redshirt year in 2007 -- he developed into a fullback while playing for the Panthers in the Big East.
Although Hynoski had one year of college eligibility remaining, he felt that his stock would never be higher. Unfortunately, he happened to come out during the league's first work stoppage since 1987. For now, he's staying in Pittsburgh and hoping for the best.
"I'm training, getting ready, lifting weights -- all that good stuff," he says. "I'm just staying in the best shape I can for when the lockout ends."
Should the lockout extend deep into summer and necessitate a shortened training camp, Hynoski isn't worried. He believes he might have an advantage over other rookies.
"I have a very high football IQ," he says. "I can pick things up fast. ... It could work out to my advantage."