October 25, 2011

This article appears as the "Lifestyles" feature in the October issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 350,000-plus members today to start your monthly subscription.

Former Terp Yeatman Pursues NFL Dream

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Former Maryland and Notre Dame standout Will Yeatman, training here with the Patriots, is now with the Miami Dolphins.

© David Silverman (Patriots)

Will Yeatman spent last spring's lacrosse season watching his former Maryland teammates make an unlikely run to the national championship game. He could have been there. He could have petitioned the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, but he didn't.

Yeatman, who played both football and lacrosse at Maryland (and Notre Dame before that), decided to train to fulfill a lifelong goal of playing in the NFL. The 6-foot-6, 268-pound tight end signed with the Miami Dolphins in September after he was cut by the New England Patriots, coached by lacrosse aficionado Bill Belichick.

LM talked hard knocks with Yeatman after two preseason games, as he battled for a spot on the Patriots.

Yeatman is now listed third on the Miami Dolphins depth chart at tight end.

How did people in lacrosse respond when you signed with an NFL team?

A lot of the people in the lacrosse world are my close friends. There are not a lot of lacrosse people that know people in the NFL, so really the response was overall excitement and people congratulating me on what I've done thus far and wishing me well for the future.

Was training camp overwhelming?

I wouldn't want to say overwhelming, but an amazing learning experience for me. The amount of knowledge amongst the coaching staff is unbelievable, as you would expect. But in terms of the educational part of football, from the drawing board to on the field, there are so many things that I was completely unaware of in college.

Did players or coaches know what lacrosse was, or that you played it?

I think everyone pretty much knows that I played lacrosse in college, and now with the growth of the sport, I think everyone on the team knows about lacrosse.

Did you talk any lacrosse with Coach Belichick while with the Pats?

I know that he knows that I played lacrosse. And I know that he is a big lacrosse fan, but [in training camp] our relationship was really strictly football. Down the road more when we talk more and we have enough time to sit back, I'm sure we'll discuss it a little bit more.

What are some crossover skills from positions in lacrosse that might help in football?

Definitely the agility, dodging in relation to running routes in football and the physical fitness. From playing lacrosse, my endurance has always been great headed into football season. I actually noticed having not played lacrosse this past spring I wasn't in as great of shape as I had been. I had been working out, but I didn't drop down in weight at all this spring, so I was a little bit bigger and bulkier than I had been going into football seasons in the past. I think the routerunning aspect of football has helped out a great amount for the agility and the physical endurance.

What player in the NFL would make for a good lacrosse player?

There are so many terrific athletes. If you look at Chad Ochocinco, who's a great athlete, he would have been a great lacrosse player. Devin McCourty, an All-Pro defensive back, he would have been a great lacrosse player. They would be midfielders, definitely.

What did you think of Maryland's run to the NCAA lacrosse championship game last year?

I thought it was so exciting. I was upset that we didn't win it all. I was proud of all those Terps, and I hope that they can put some runs together in the future.

What do you think of the new Maryland football uniforms that the Terps are wearing this fall?

They're pretty flashy, a little bit more than we've worn in the past. They look pretty awesome.

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