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Gallaudet star Talaat hopes to fulfill NFL dream

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014

MARTINSVILLE, N.J. (AP) — A little trash talk and some crowd noise can be big distractions on a football field.

Not for Adham Talaat.

The talented defensive end is deaf, though he hears just fine with hearing aids. But he didn't wear them on the field while he played at Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.

Talaat, a late bloomer in high school, was a standout player in college. Now he's hoping for a chance in the NFL in next week's draft and wants teams to ignore his hearing problem.

"I don't view my hearing loss as any detriment or hindrance at all. I actually feel that it is an advantage for me," Talaat said in an email to The Associated Press. "Crowd noise and trash talk does not faze me. An important point to consider is that NFL stadiums are loud. Players can't always hear each other, so they use signals or signs on the sidelines, which is non-verbal communication. That happens to be my specialty."

Talaat has dreamed of playing in the NFL since watching John Elway lead the Denver Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl titles when he was a kid.

Dominating at the Division III level helped Talaat draw attention from scouts. More than 25 NFL teams have met with him or watched him play.

Now comes the hard part: waiting for a phone call when the draft kicks off next week.

"The odds were stacked against me since I was born," Talaat said. "Hypothetically, if I went to a BCS school and performed the way I have at Gallaudet, I would be in contention for a first-to-third round pick. It seems fitting because my entire life, nothing has ever been handed to me; I've always been snubbed and overlooked, and every time I have made those people regret it. My message to the NFL office personnel is this: Don't be the one to overlook me here, or I WILL make you sorry! All I need is the opportunity to be coached and compete. I will not disappoint!"

Talaat, who is 6-foot-6, and a lean 271 pounds, had five sacks and 46 tackles while facing mostly double-and triple-teams during his senior season. He spent 13 weeks training at TEST Sports Clubs this winter to improve his all-around skills. The hard work paid off when Talaat posted impressive numbers at Gallaudet's first-ever Pro Day last month.

Talaat ran a 4.94 40-yard dash, had a 30-inch vertical jump and benched 225 pounds 23 times. That's two more reps than Jadeveon Clowney, the South Carolina defensive end who might be the No. 1 overall pick. Talaat's time of 7.28 seconds in the three-cone drill was only .01 seconds slower than Clowney.

"His size, speed and wingspan are all NFL-caliber traits," said Kevin Dunn, owner and CEO of TEST Parisi Football Academy. "If you could tangibly measure Adham's will to win, desire to get better and the passion and purpose that is inside his heart, it would fill a stadium and add a tremendous amount of good character to any market in the NFL."

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