Draft day drama for Abilene's Keevan Lucas
ABILENE, Texas - After the 253rd selection in the National Football League Draft, everyone at Keevan Lucas' watch party knew that part of the former Abilene High wide receiver's dream was over.
Lucas was not drafted on Saturday. But there was still hope he would be signed as a free agent.
Lucas received a phone call and retreated to a closed room at X-Golf in Abilene, then re-appeared and told the crowd filled with friends and family, "I'm going to Buffalo!"
However, minutes later Lucas received another call, went outside and then told the crowd that the Buffalo Bills had retreated its offer "per team doctors" wanting more time to evaluate Lucas.
"I just don't understand. You call me and say, 'Hey, you're coming to Buffalo.' And then discredit that. That was definitely a blow," said Lucas, who was named to first-team All-AAC last year. "I didn't know how to respond to that at the time. I know that God has a plan. I know that His plan will prevail, and I've just got to keep trusting the process. It's going to all work out in the end.
"I really can't be discouraged because I've been through way worse and overcame way worse."
The redshirt junior from Tulsa has suffered two major leg injuries in his career. Two years ago he tore his patella tendon and missed most of the season, but bounced back to catch a career-high 15 touchdowns this past season.
STORY: Former AHS coach Steven Warren talks about NFL hopeful Keevan Lucas
Lucas also missed a season at Abilene High because of a torn meniscus.
Later Saturday evening, Lucas received invitations to tryout with the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.
Lucas was heartbroken after the Bills took away their contract offer and went into a car with some of his close friends.
Following the Bills retraction, there had been reports that the Los Angeles Rams were interested in signing Lucas, but nothing has been made official.
Lucas was a star wide receiver at Abilene High, setting school records at only 5'9". When he was 14 years old, his mother died of a brain aneurysm. Three days later his grandmother passed away from a heart attack and stroke.
"Everything that was going on emotionally inside of him, he turned it loose into his work ethic and on the football field," said former Abilene High head coach Steve Warren earlier in the week.
"You could tell it was personal to him. He wanted to be as good as he could be and I think that fueled his fire. It was really special to watch a kid have to go through that, that came from that kind of background to have the kind of success he did."
"He's overcome all that," said current AHS coach Del Van Cox at Lucas' draft party. "That's the beauty of the hard work he's put in. You can't ever count him out, I've learned over the years."
NFL scouts had knocked Lucas for his size and lack of quickness, which is a relied upon skill in order to play professionally as a slot receiver.