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Drafted | Worth the Wait for Calais

7th Round PIck by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted at 11:42 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 00:43:50-04

It's after 5:30 pm in Breaux Bridge, in the final moments of the NFL draft, when Raymond Calais' life was changed forever by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I was really emotional man," Calais said. "This is something every kid dreams of."

But to describe the day as a roller coaster may not do it justice.

Lets go back 7 hours to when day 3 of the NFL draft began at 11 am. The Cecilia product, surrounded by his parents and 3 siblings, anxiously waited for the phone to ring.

There were moments of happiness, like when his former Ragin' Cajuns teammate Kevin Dotson was drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But mostly, there was frustration.

"I've been patient all day," Calais recalled. "But definitely it was a hard day to sit around and wait on a phone call. To see other guys get picked before you.

It's 4 pm and in the middle of the 6th round when Calais phone rings. It's an NFL team and it feels like this is the moment. But it wasn't.

"Receiving a few calls from other teams saying they want to draft me but they're not sure. It definitely took me off my track."

This was the first of several teams reaching out to sign Calais as an undrafted free agent. As the 7th round began winding down, it seemed like that was inevitable. Calais had even verbally agreed to sign with a team, and we conducted an interview about his new home.

"I pretty much got the whole bag of chips on my shoulder right now," Calais explained at the time.

But not even 15 minutes later after that interview, Calais received the call from Tampa Bay that changed his life forever

"He was just fired up to hear my voice," Calais describes his convo with Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians. "He was laughing. I was crying! It was very emotional."

So wrapped up in the moment, the family didn't get to watch his name flash across the ESPN screen until an hour later. But the waiting, the frustration, the doubt; It was all worth it.

"The wait, it was very long. But once I got the call from Tampa Bay, all that went out of my head," Calais says with a smile. "I was excited. I was emotional. It was a crazy moment."

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