The lives of Mike James and Brandon McGee will be intertwined for at least another week.
Both played football together at the University of Miami, waited until after they graduated to pursue an NFL career and are mid- to late-round prospects in the NFL Draft that begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.
And both will be thinking of their departed moms when their dreams are realized, if, indeed they are realized, this weekend.
Draft day is coming, and everybody asks me Where are you going to be this weekend? Who are you going to be with? said James, 22, the running back whose mother died in a car accident in December 2010.
Its hard to give anyone a definitive answer because for 19 years I thought I was going to be with my mom, no matter what, on draft day.
Brandon and I share a lot when it comes to that.
McGee, the 22-year-old cornerback whose mother died of cancer when he was 13, said his mom will be the first thing that comes to my mind when hes drafted. Before she passed I promised Id make her proud and get to the pros.
That day is coming soon.
Except for McGee and James and even they are not shoo-ins to be picked this is expected to be a meager weekend for the Canes, who were spoiled from 1995 to 2008 with at least one player chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Each humble, respectful and well-respected, and each thankful for what they do have as opposed to bitter about what they dont McGee and James, in separate interviews, said they might not turn on the TV for the majority of the three days.
I talked to some older guys D.J. Williams, Antrel Rolle, James said. D.J. went in the first round and he told me it still felt like forever. He said, Whatever you do, take your mind off it. It can be stressful sitting there watching people and thinking, Theyre going and I was better than him!
The best thing to do is try to take a step back from it.
Said McGee: Ill be at home [in Plantation] with my immediate family. I thought about having a little party, but I might not even do that. I might not even watch it, which would be the first year I dont.
Ill record it, but I dont want to know until it happens.
McGee, 5-11 and 193 pounds, had one of the fastest 40-yard times at the combine in February, a 4.40 good for 13th overall. During his UM career, he was clocked as fast as 4.29.
He came into his senior season still waiting to fulfill the expectations he created with an outstanding high school career at Plantation, where he was a dominant quarterback and considered the nations 10th-best corner by Rivals.com.
In 2012 he started all 12 games and tied for sixth on the team with 54 tackles, had two interceptions and seven pass breakups.
His strong performance during practice week for the East-West Shrine Game (including two interceptions) was noted across the nation.
The teams for which he worked out included the Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.
I work hard, Im coachable, I can learn just about any scheme in any defense, McGee said.
Regardless of what round you go in, what counts is how you perform once youre in an NFL uniform. I tend not to focus on the negative. Its a blessing to be in this position.