Considering it's been nearly two years since he last played in a sanctioned football game, wide receiver Scott McCready can't wait for Sunday to arrive.
McCready, one of five New England allocations playing in NFL Europe this summer, will suit up for the Scottish Claymores this weekend for the 2002 season opener. His team will host 2001 World Bowl runner-up Barcelona.
"Barcelona is a good team," McCready said. "We had a combined work-out with them [in training camp]. They have a lot of good players a lot of talent on their team, and I think it is going to fun to play for real and see what happens."
The game will mark a return to the field for McCready, who joined the Patriots practice squad on Oct. 31 last season. Because he was on the practice squad, he was not eligible to play in games. The last time he suited up was as a fifth-year senior at South Florida, where he was a teammate of New England offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones.
McCready, who attracted attention by catching 37 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns in his senior season at South Florida, originally signed with New England last April 27 as a rookie free agent. He participated in rookie camp, but was waived on June 25 and found himself out of football until returning with the practice squad.
After spending so much time away from live action on the field, Sunday's tilt can't come fast enough.
"Obviously I am looking forward to it," said McCready, a native of London who became the first Englishman to earn a Super Bowl ring when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI in February. "There has been a lot of practice over the last five weeks. We had a few combined practices and a few scrimmages, but nothing like when you get out there and play for real, when it really counts and see what you have got.
"That is what I am looking forward to, I feel like we have a good team and I feel we can match-up against any one we play against. It is always fun to test your ability against other teams."
Other Patriots in action
Four other Patriots will also take the field this weekend when the 10th season of NFL Europe kicks off. Defensive end Radell Lockhart joins McCready on the Claymores sideline. Linebacker Maugaula Tuitele, who appeared in one game with New England each of the last two seasons, is playing for the Rhein Fire, and offensive linemen Mike Clare and Pat Downey are teaming on the Frankfurt Galaxy.
NFL Europe facts
- The league champion each of the last four seasons came out of Germany: Berlin (2001), Rhein (2000), Frankfurt (1999) and Rhein again (1998).
- If you like parity, NFL Europe is for you. Since NFL Europe became a six-team league in 1995, only two teams (Amsterdam in 1995 and Barcelona in 2000) have posted a regular season record better than 7-3. Both those teams lost in World Bowl.
- Since 1995, six teams have qualified for World Bowl with a 6-4 record or worse, including the 1997 Dragons who qualified for World Bowl after a 5-5 season.
- Since 1995, only the Scottish Claymores (1996) and Rhein Fire (2000) have owned the best regular season record and won World Bowl.