LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Getting drafted into the NFL will always be one of the most cherished memories for players. 8 Sports Now caught up with one player who not only remembers his draft day, but how it all led to the Hall of Fame.
Nowadays, the name Anthony Muñoz holds a ton of weight in NFL circles. Back in 1980, though, the two-time All-American lineman out of USC was considered a high-risk draft pick because of multiple knee injuries. They hindered him to just 16 games total during his collegiate career.
But as we all know now, those concerns were unnecessary.
“My situation was a lot different than most. I had gone through three knee operations in four years,” Muñoz shared. “My last year, I got hurt in the very first game. I had surgery and missed the entire season. Played in the Rose Bowl, was the only game I played.”
Because he missed almost his entire senior season, he wasn’t projected to be a high draft pick.
“Going into the draft, all of the experts were saying I wouldn’t be drafted; I might be a draft agent,” Muñoz recalled. “But all I wanted was a chance to get in an NFL camp to see if I could compete at the level.”
But the Ontario, California, native proved the draft experts wrong.
“And all it took was one team, and that team happened to have the third pick in the NFL draft: the Bengals,” Muñoz said, “And I’m very thankful to Paul Brown and the Brown family that gave the opportunity not only to go to a camp, but 13 camps. And as they say, the rest was history.”
Thirteen seasons, 11 Pro Bowls and a bust in Canton later, Muñoz is considered one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play in the NFL.
“I knew once I was picked with that third pick, I couldn’t put it in cruise control. I had to up my game in conditioning and strengthening and studying the game.”
Muñoz will be busy for the Cincinnati Bengals during this year’s draft, as he will announce the team’s third-round pick, the draft’s 69th-overall selection.