NORMAN — Twenty-one safeties were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Former Oklahoma standout Tony Jefferson wasn’t one of them.
Jefferson (5-foot-11, 213 pounds), who skipped his senior season at Oklahoma, signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent later Saturday night.
“Ima do it for the nonbelievers in Arizona,” Jefferson tweeted.
The Associated Press voted Jefferson a second-team All-American after his junior season, during which he led the Sooners with 119 tackles. He played most of the year on a high-ankle sprain suffered in Oklahoma’s second game of the season, a 69-13 rout of Florida A&M.
Jefferson’s decision came after the Sooners’ 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M. At that time, ESPN.com had him ranked as the draft’s fifth-best safety prospect.
He hurt his hamstring at February’s NFL Combine, though, and was still battling the injury at OU’s Pro Day a few weeks later.
Jefferson posted a 4.75 40-yard dash time at the combine, and didn’t try the run again at Pro Day.
“I feel it whenever I move,” Jefferson said after Pro Day. “But I’ve never been that type of guy to blame it on something. I played injured all year and didn’t complain. I wasn’t supposed to compete at the combine really but I’ve always been the type of dude to push it and it bit me in the butt there.”
Jefferson also had to deal with a brief blow-up over questions regarding his work ethic. An Internet report emerged questioning his practice habits and attitude in the weight room, but OU coaches and teammates quickly rushed to Jefferson’s defense, and the issue seemed dead after the combine.
Other undrafted Sooners included safety Javon Harris, cornerback Demontre Hurst, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland, defensive end R.J. Washington, punter Tress Way, defensive tackle Casey Walker and linebacker Tom Wort.