CARSON, Calif. – Chris Galippo knows what he has to do to make an NFL roster because he has been doing it for the past two years.
Galippo twice lost his job as starting middle linebacker at USC during that period, but continued to play a critical role on special teams, working on almost every unit under renowned assistant coach John Baxter.
There is a place for that core special teams player at the next level with such limited roster flexibility, as Galippo is well aware.
“Linebacker will take care of itself, but being able to contribute on all the special teams like I have learned how to do at SC, that will for sure be an advantage for me,” he said Wednesday.
“My wisdom in that area of the game alone is pretty polished. That is something I take pride in. And those are the type of things that keep you on the 53-man. Being able to be a specialist and still contribute on defense and do everything will hopefully play to my advantage.”
Galippo never lived up to the recruiting hype that he brought to the Trojans out of famed Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, largely because of a lingering back injury and wearing down from overuse.
But he has slimmed down noticeably to 235 pounds, taking advantage of the early end to his senior season because of USC’s postseason ban. Galippo said at times he weighed as much as 250 pounds during his college career.
“Not only is that big for my speed and agility, that is something that is taking a load off my back,” he said.
Coming from a school known for its prowess at the linebacker position, especially of late, Galippo has been able to lean on friends and former teammates to prepare for the draft process.
Be it a top pick like Brian Cushing or Rey Maualuga or late selection like Thomas Williams or Malcolm Smith, “The message is the same,” Galippo said.
“You got to take care of yourself and you got to make sure you do everything right. The reality is this is a very public thing that goes on, a very negative experience. It’s really just about what is wrong with you. The better you can limit those things and not give people things to talk about, the better you will do.”
For now, Galippo is just enjoying one more opportunity to play in front of friends and family.
“I’m going to be one of the guys with more names on the ticket list on Saturday, so I should have a good amount of people up in the stands,” he said. “I’m just lucky to have another week to play in this great weather.
“Odds are the next place I play it won’t be sunny and 72 this time of the year.”
Size Doesn’t Matter For Bailey
Syracuse running back Antwon Bailey has been hearing he is too small for too long.
Listed at 5-foot-7 in college – though standing next to Bailey, it seems to be exaggerated by at least two inches – it didn’t keep him from rushing for 1,051 yards as a senior.
Bailey rushed for more than 100 yards in six games, including a streak of four straight capped by a 125-yard performance against Big East co-champion and Orange Bowl winner West Virginia.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been getting that, so I’m kind of used to it now,” he said. “It puts an extra chip on my shoulder, but it is what it is.”
In a season where diminutive New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles set a new NFL record for all-purpose yardage, Bailey draws confidence he can carve out a similar role going forward.
“Seeing guys with my size or close to it gives me the confidence, but I am already a confident person,” he said. “I believe in myself. I never had any doubt.”
Bailey impressed during practice with the American team Thursday at Home Depot Center, showing off good quickness, burst and a natural awareness of how to hit the hole.
But his best attribute is as a receiver, as demonstrated by the 91 receptions during his college career.
“That’s definitely one of my strengths and a part of my game that stands out,” Bailey said. “Even looking at college, my high school career or going forward to the next level, my hands are something that stands out.”
Maryland corner Cameron Chism injured his right leg during practice and did not return.