Former Cougar on NFL practice squad

Orem’s own Johnny Harline wasn’t drafted during the NFL draft, but he is doing what he can to make a name for himself in the NFL.

If you’re having trouble remembering who Harline is, just think of the 2005-06 football seasons at BYU. Harline came up with key catches for the Cougars during their 10-2 season.

Harline is getting used to being an NFL rookie, but one thing he didn’t have to go through was the hazing. "I haven’t been hazed too much," Harline said. "When I was in Indianapolis, (coach) Tony Dungy didn’t like that; and I think by the time I got to Cleveland, they were done hazing the rookies. It’s weird, though, I feel like a sophomore at BYU all over again."

Harline was the Mountain West Conference’s leader in receiving (935) yards and receiving touchdowns (12), helping BYU to a conference title. Those kinds of numbers gave him the right to call himself "an all-American."
But he’s not in college anymore.

"Every player is a good athlete (in the NFL), most of them have been doing this their whole life, and now it’s their job, they do it all day, every day. There’s no ‘scrubs’ in the NFL. Every one knows exactly where they need to be and when," Harline said.

In 2006, he was also one of John Beck’s (the current back-up QB for the Miami Dolphins) favorite targets. The two of them put an exclamation point on last season’s game against Utah with an emphatic touchdown pass-and-catch to win the game with no time left.

Harline made his mark at BYU and is now focusing on perfecting his skills at the highest level, the NFL.
And although he hasn’t made a 53-man roster, he is still enjoying his time working toward that goal.

"It’s awesome. It’s different, though. In college it’s three or four hours a day; you have to put in a lot more time in the NFL. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the big practice days, 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., starting with meetings then practice and then more meetings. I’m getting the hang of it, though," Harline said.

The Indianapolis Colts gave him a shot as an un-drafted free agent. He was let go on the final cut before the season started. The Cleveland Browns gave him another chance, and he is now battling daily as one of eight players on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.

As a practice-squad player, Harline’s future is day-to-day. The Browns can promote him or cut him any time, and other teams can do the same.

Just getting on a team is a big deal, but Harline wants more and expects bigger things.

"Next year is definitely what I’m aiming for. It could happen this year with injuries and what not, but it’s a long shot. At every level, thus far, it has taken me a little time to get used to the better competition, but it always seems to work out in the long run," Harline said.

Leave a Reply