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 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -If Dwayne Bowe wanted to make a good first impression, he failed miserably.
Kansas City's first-round draft pick began his professional career by showing up 30 minutes late for his first practice. Stretching exercises and coach Herm Edwards' welcoming remarks were finished by the time the wide receiver from LSU hurried onto the field for the opening session of a three-day rookie minicamp.
Then the 6-foot-3 Bowe, who described himself on draft day as ``intimidating,'' proceeded to drop several passes.
He also caught quite a few, and looked good doing it. But he did admit that for this one afternoon at least, he did not feel quite so intimidating.
``Today I felt kind of in-between, going against new guys, new quarterback,'' he said, ``Not knowing the timing. But it's all football. You've got to go out there and compete.''
He said he was late because he ``had some things to do.''
``Just a minor thing,'' he said.
His tardiness was not lost on a new boss who puts a premium on punctuality.
``I don't know. I think he had a shoe problem,'' Edwards said.
``That's what those big guys have. You know, when they get those big contracts they don't know what shoes to wear, I guess. I don't know. But he was here. He started practicing. He was in the drills. He dropped some balls and I told him relax.
``I thought he relaxed more (in the afternoon session).''
One wide receiver who showed up on time was Brad Ekwerekwu, a three-year starter at Missouri who was not drafted. The 6-3, 216-pounder knows the odds are stacked against all the undrafted free agents who'll be fighting and clawing to make a good impression before veterans start arriving for their workouts before next month's full-squad minicamp.
``I'm just happy to be here,'' he said. ``I'm happy to get another shot playing football. I'm out here doing what I love to do. I think it's great.''
Ekwerekwu caught 95 career passes for 956 yards and six touchdowns - decent stats but hardly comparable to the 154 balls Bowe caught at LSU for 2,403 yards and a school-record 26 touchdowns.
``The way I look at it, I have to make the team,'' Ekwerekwu said. ``I'm sure everybody except (Bowe) has to also. They usually keep the first pick. At least for a couple of years. I'm just coming out here trying to make the team.''
Getting passed over in the draft was a major disappointment.
``You're always expecting it, kind of wanting it, hoping for it,'' he said. ``But I'm here at camp. ... I'm just going to come out here and try to make it.''
While Bowe's agent is negotiating a big contract with a hefty signing bonus, Ekwerekwu will be hoping to avoid getting cut. But he's talked himself into making the most of his underdog role. He figures it might even be a plus.
``All the attention of being first-round, that might get to some guys,'' he said.
``All the press and autograph signings and media. I just have to worry about playing football and not the distraction of being the main guy. ... I'm blessed to be out here, and I'm out here for a reason. I think God will take care of me.''
He can also take heart in the fact that Edwards cracked the Philadelphia Eagles' lineup more than 30 years ago as an undrafted free agent and likes gritty, determined young players who come to work on time.
``I told them four guys last year were free agents who made this football team who weren't drafted,'' Edwards said.
``They were on the football team for the whole year. There's going to be probably three or four more this year.''
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