Left tackle Eric Lefeld earned first-team all-league honors in each of his final three seasons at Cincinnati, becoming the first Bearcat to achieve that feat since offensive lineman Jason Fabini in the 1990’s.
Fabini went on to spend 11 years in the NFL with the Jets, Cowboys, and Redskins and Lefeld says he’s been dreaming of his own pro football career for a long time.
“When I was a young kid I was always watching the Steelers and the Bengals,” said Lefeld. “It was a dream then and I think every year that I was at UC and playing in some of the big games that we won; it became more and more of a reality. It’s an unbelievable feeling knowing that you’re getting looked at.”
On Wednesday, Lefeld was one of 25 players with local ties that took part in a pre-draft workout with the Cincinnati Bengals. Eric also performed for NFL scouts at UC’s Pro Timing Day on March 11th, but did not receive an invitation to February’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“I feel like he was cheated,” said Bearcats teammate Munchie Legaux. “He didn’t get invited to the Combine or the Senior Bowl and I was like, ‘Come on – he was three-time All-Conference.’ That speaks volumes for itself.
“I love Eric Lefeld and I just feel like he should have been at the Combine or something. That’s my opinion. I know my opinion doesn’t matter, but I know he’s going to get a chance in the NFL and hopefully he’ll get drafted.”
If Lefeld doesn’t get selected, the 6’5” 298 pound lineman is almost certain to wind up in an NFL camp as a college free agent.
“There’s the potential of being drafted and if free agency is the way I have to go, then me and my agent are prepared to hit the ground running,” Lefeld told me.
Lefeld’s chances of winding up on an NFL roster or practice squad are enhanced by his durability and versatility. He started his last 43 games at Cincinnati at both left and right tackle and some pro scouts think he also has a shot at playing guard in the NFL.
“I never had to play inside in a game at UC, but I know that I can transfer my tackle skills to guard if I need to,” said Lefeld. “Getting experience at right tackle in my first season was huge and then going to the left side and never leaving was a great honor and a heck of an experience.”
Lefeld recently spent eight weeks preparing for the draft at Bommarito Performance Systems in Davie, Florida and says his agent has been in contact with several NFL teams about individual workouts.
“It’s a weird time,” said Lefeld. “All I have to do right now is work out and run. It’s kind of a nervous time. I’m ready for the next step and see where it goes.”
The former Coldwater High School standout came to Cincinnati as a 240-pound defense lineman. He left school with his degree and one of the most decorated careers of any offensive lineman in Bearcats history,
“There’s nothing I would go back and change,” said Lefeld. “I really had a great experience at UC and I’m proud to say that I was a Bearcat.”
“Eric Lefeld was one of the first guys to call me when I was lying in the hospital bed,” said Legaux. “He was actually the first guy to call me and said he felt sorry for me. I told him, ‘It’s football and these things happen.’ I’m a big fan of Eric. He’s a great teammate, a great guy, and hopefully he has a great NFL career.”
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