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Former Mooney standout signs as free agent with Denver

Kyle McCarthy overlooked in draft but headed to NFL

April 29, 2010
By Nik Zirounis

The list of Cardinal Mooney football alumni that played in the NFL is a long and glorious one.

Now you can add another name to that group. Former Cardinal and Notre Dame standout safety Kyle McCarthy signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos last Saturday night just hours after the conclusion of the NFL draft.

“I am very excited right now,” said McCarthy over the phone this past weekend. “I am excited for the opportunity and I hope to make the most of it. I can’t wait to get started.”

McCarthy may not be able to wait to get on the field, but he had to wait a while before he signed his contract. Most draft experts had McCarthy, who led Notre Dame in tackles each of the past two years, as a sixth round draft choice at best (there are seven rounds in the draft). The six-foot, 205-pound safety knew his name would not be called before the Saturday portion of the three-day draft marathon so he was patient in that respect. He attended the Notre Dame spring game last Saturday to watch his younger brother Dan play, but was anticipating getting a call from an NFL head coach. When that draft headed toward the 255th and final pick, McCarthy’s phone began to ring, but it wasn’t to say he got picked.

“It was a pretty crazy process,” McCarthy explained. “When it got to the seventh round, teams were calling to set up a free agent contract. A lot of people say at that point it is better to just be a free agent and choose your team, but it is always nice to have your name called (at the draft).”

Several teams were in contract with Kyle early Saturday night, but the Broncos seemed to be the team with the best opportunity for him.

“We heard from a few teams,” McCarthy mentioned, “but Denver was the spot.”  “I talked to the coaches there and they were excited to have me come in. I leave for minicamp Thursday and I am excited to get out there and prove the other teams (who didn’t draft him) wrong.”

Denver’s head coach is Josh McDaniels who grew up in Canton and attended Canton McKinley High School. McDaniels’ father Thom is the former head coach at Warren Harding so it is no doubt that that pair knows a thing or two about the quality student/athlete produced at Mooney. 

The Broncos are not thin in the defensive backfield when it comes to veteran talent. Two potential Hall of Fame players, Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins, are entrenched as starters in the Denver secondary, but McCarthy insisted he will not be intimidated by that duo.

“Anytime you get to learn from quality veterans it is a good thing,” he said. “Denver is a great franchise.”

Of course, Kyle knows a thing or two about great teams. Not only was he a member of one of the most respected teams in college football history, but he was a Cardinal Mooney Cardinal first. McCarthy wanted to make clear that without the help of his Mooney family, he would not be going to an NFL minicamp this weekend.

“I would never be in this position if it wasn’t for all the people back home,” he said sincerely. “I am proud to be from the area. The work ethic I got from going to Mooney and the family atmosphere there made me the person I am today. I have lots of admiration for Mooney high school.”

Certainly McCarthy has his admirers too. Once the news broke that he was making his way to Denver, Kyle got a call from his college coach Charlie Weiss who offered some good advice.

“Coach Weiss wished me the best and told me not to change who I am,” said McCarthy. “He said to keep my head down and keep working hard.”

The type of hard work Kyle McCarthy learned early at Cardinal Mooney and now has him on the brink of a professional football career.


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