St. Louis Rams rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui attributes his soft hands to some tough pass-catching drills with his father.
"I remember in my younger days when me and my dad would play catch in the backyard, he would beam it at me," Hoomanawanui said. "When I was younger, I would cry. I would tell him to slow down. I guess it paid off in the long run."
Hoomanawanui's father, Isy, was a former linebacker at Illinois State. So not all of those rocket throws hit off the younger Hoomanawanui's hands.
"The chest, face, you name it," Hoomanawanui said. "Being five years old trying to catch a fastball isn't that easy. Like I said, I guess it paid off."
The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Hoomanawanui (pronounced Ho-of-muh-now-wa-new-e) was a fifth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois. He went by the nickname "Uh-oh" in college.
Hoomanawanui's receiving skills caught the attention of Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo on the first day of training camp.
"I was watching (film) last night, and he's a very natural catcher, I think," Spagnuolo said. "He has done a lot of that at Illinois, and obviously he was very successful at it. That sticks right out, but there is a lot going in to playing tight end in the NFL, so he has a lot to learn. He's an eager guy."
You'll be saying "uh-oh" if you have to rely on a Rams tight end in 2010, but if Sam Bradford develops into a franchise quarterback, it will enhance the value of every Rams receiver. So "Uh-oh" might be worth a look in dynasty leagues with deeper rosters if he continues to impress the St. Louis brass.