Arizona Cardinals fourth round pick Evan Boehm is known as a tough guy. He never missed a game in college. He started all four years, appearing in all 52 contests, beginning as a true freshman. Even when he suffered a high ankle sprain his senior year, it didn't keep him out of any game.
He spoke about it months ago at the NFL Scouting Combine, but now that he is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, it is worth bringing up.
He knows he did not have the best season, but playing through the injury, even hurt, was something he felt he had to do.
"The 52 consecutive starts, I think that kind of speaks for itself," he said. "Were all those starts phenomenal starts? I can tell you right now, those first four weeks of my (senior) season, they were not. But I think it has to show (NFL scouts) something to where if you need me to be out there and play, then I can be out there and play. And I'll be able to hold my own while I'm out there playing."
That attitude is one that will win over a locker room. In the NFL, availability matters. When teammates are out there in practice and in games playing, they want to see the guys next to them sucking it up and doing everything possible to be out there with them. It builds trust.
Suck it up is what he did. The only half of football he missed in his collegiate career was when he suffered the high ankle sprain in the first game last season. It was the fifth player of the season. "I told them at halftime, you guys do whatever you need to do with (the ankle), but you're not keeping me out of next week's game," he said. "That's just not who I am."
He struggled for four weeks and finally started putting good games together. But playing was important. The streak was important. Part of that was because the man who held the streak before him was one his offensive line coach.
Getting the record "was cool and it was a fun experience."
Boehm now wants to start his pro career the same way -- playing from the very beginning. He has a battle to beat out A.Q. Shipley and he know he has to compete for the job. He knows the job will not simply be given to him. However, based on what he showed in college, one thing is sure -- once he gets in the lineup, the coaches will be hard-pressed to be able to get him out of the lineup.