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March 9, 2011BERKELEY -- It's been more than four months since anyone has seen quarterback Kevin Riley throw a football. Ever since he crumpled to the turf with a season-ending knee/calf injury, he's virtually been in hiding, preparing for a shot at whatever professional league will have him. On Wednesday, he finally showed his wares.
"How are you guys feeling? It's been a while," Riley joked as he came off the Witter Rugby Field turf. "The knee's fine, it's 100 percent. I've been running for a while now, and it feels great. It was fun being out here again."
Riley showed no rust during agility drills, even though he continued to wear a brace on his left knee. He ran through the L-drill and the three-cone shuttle without any hindrance, easily changing direction and retaining speed through his turns.
"I wear the knee brace just because I work out with it," Riley said. "Coach Blasquez told me not to (work without the brace). He said, 'Don't go full speed without your knee brace. After this, I'll probably start training without it."
Riley has been running at full-speed now for about a month now, and has gone as far as Atlanta to work on strengthening his knee.
"I think that helped out a lot because there was a lot of resistance-band work and a lot of work that my knee hasn't had yet," Riley said. "It got a lot stronger over that week. I've just been throwing and having fun."
The most noticeable thing about the former Cal QB was his new, svelte physique.
"I am a lot leaner, thanks for noticing. I knew it was a good choice to wear white," Riley laughed. "I weigh almost about the same, but I'm just in better shape. I weighed in at 214 today, but I'm just not as fat."
Riley threw well during positional drills today in hopes of a possible professional future, whether that be in the NFL, CFL or other leagues.
"I'm just trying to get myself a chance," Riley said. "I've seen these guys throw, and I know I can throw with the best of any of them. I just hope I get an opportunity, and hopefully I can get a little luck and it works out. If you love football, why not give it a chance when I've got a chance."
The biggest task for Riley on Wednesday was to show the 27 NFL scouts that he was indeed completely healthy.
"A lot of guys didn't know that, or the Cal media group didn't do a good job," Riley joked, ribbing the media relations staff on hand a bit. "A lot of (scouts) were surprised to see me out there, but I tested decently well for what happened. I got a vert(ical leap) over 30 (inches) and a decent shuttle and L-drill, which is all cuts on my knee. I could have done a little better, but it worked out."
Riley is keeping all of his options open, whether they be the NFL, CFL, UFL or even the Arena Football League. For Riley, he's happy just as long as he gets to play somewhere.
"If I get a chance, obviously it's every little kid's dream to play in the NFL, so I'll give it a shot," Riley said. "If I don't, then I'll probably try the CFL or something like that. Football's fun, so why not play it? If you've got a chance, take it."
Riley was happy with how he threw today, with familiar targets in running back Shane Vereen and wide receiver Jeremy Ross.
"You go out there and throw and go, 'Hell, is anybody even watching?' but I threw the ball pretty well today, and there was just one comeback that I would like to take back, but overall, I was hitting guys in stride," Riley said. "Hopefully, you get a chance to work out for (individual teams), and then, they can really see."
Riley has only two more classes left before graduating in May, which he is currently taking. However, he has had plenty of time to work out to get ready for his run at the pros.
"I'm killing it (in the classroom) right now, and there's been like five guys working out every single day, up here, every day during the week," Riley said. "I've been throwing on every day during the weekends with J-Ross just about every weekend, and this past weekend with Coach (Roger) Theder, a Bay Area guy, with Josh Johnson. I saw Marshawn (Lynch) there, which was pretty fun. I just keep on throwing. I'm also working with Matt Gutierrez, who played at De La Salle, he's been throwing as well."
Asked whether he could give his thoughts on the race to replace him as Cal's starting quarterback, Riley laughed.
"I wish I knew as much as anybody," he said. "I came out a couple times and watched, and they're all doing good things. If one of them puts everything together, they'll get it. They're all good at something."
Riley ended the media gathering with a hearty, "Go Bears!"