Laken Tomlinson has a unique past (born in Jamaica, he moved to Chicago as a child) and plans for an exceptional future (he's interested in medical school, neuroscience and neurosurgery). But for now, he's focusing on the 2015 NFL Draft. In a diary series for NFL Media, the former Duke guard explains what it's like to get ready for a career in the NFL. Below is his second entry; his first can be found here.
Draft day is almost here, and I'm super excited, of course. But in a few days, I'll be going to some new city to work and start my life there. So for now, I'm just a kid who's enjoying being at home for the first time in a long time.
This is the first time I've been back in Chicago since last October, when I came home for my mom's birthday. So this week, I tried to push away all the noise and focus on laying low with my family, not being swallowed up by the hype. And to get a chance to do that has been really good for me.
Whenever I'm away from home, I miss my mom's Jamaican cooking; she makes this seasoned fried fish, jerk chicken, brown-stew chicken, all this Jamaican stuff. I missed it so much. It's felt so good to eat her food and have dinner with my siblings, to sit down and talk about what's going on in life.
It's important to me to have family members and people who are close to me -- like my mentor, Robert Sperling -- at the draft. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to make it, like my older brother, who's in Germany with the U.S. Army. He's sad that he won't be there, but he'll be watching -- it'll be sometime in the very early morning over there, but he'll be tracking what happens. I'm also expecting that people will be watching in Jamaica, where my dad still is. I think word has gotten around there.
I have no idea what being in the green room is going to be like. I haven't thought about it much; as I said, I've kept things pretty low-key, hanging out and working out with my younger brother and my uncle. I do know that my boy, Cedric Ogbuehi from Texas A&M, is going to be there. He called me -- we worked out together as part of the pre-draft process -- and we chatted a bit; I told him he's going to love Chicago. It's good to know there will be someone there I can hang out with.
I don't know which team might be picking me or when; I haven't gotten any hints about it. And it's weird. Because I'm a guy who likes to plan out every step of everything I'm doing. To not know where I'll be starting my NFL career, it's just weird. I've never really experienced that kind of thing. In a way, it also brings a little excitement to the whole process; just not knowing is kind of exciting.
When draft day comes, I'll definitely feel it. I'm ecstatic that I'll get to experience what pretty much every football player wants to experience. I'm happy and grateful, and it's obviously worked out perfectly for me to have the draft in Chicago.
Beyond that, though, I'm just going to wait and see what it's like when I get there. Whatever happens from that point on, I have no control over. I figure the team that loves me the most is going to be the team that drafts me. I'd be happy to play anywhere. I just can't wait to know where I'm going and have that solidified in my mind; I just can't wait to play football.