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Riley anchors fan experience at NFL Draft

Posted May 6, 2014

 

Roger Heldman saw the first Bengals game ever in Cincinnati and Wendell Hunsucker became a season ticket holder the year Who Dey was born in the first Super Bowl year of 1981. But nothing may top this weekend after they were selected in lottery style by the Bengals to attend the NFL Draft.

Along with Bengals legend Ken Riley, they’ll be carrying the striped banner at Radio City Music Hall.   

Hunsucker, of Blue Ash, gets to go backstage to hand the Bengals jersey to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he’ll in turn present to the club’s first draft pick. Wearing a Bengals jersey with “Draft Day” on the nameplate, Hunsucker also walks the red carpet with the other 24 season ticket-holders from around the NFL to deliver the 2014 New Era draft caps into Radio City Music Hall.

Heldman, of Hyde Park, won the right to announce the fourth-round pick, an honor he says he’ll give to his 26-year-old son.

Hunsucker joked with head coach Marvin Lewis before his Tuesday news conference that he’d change the pick on him. Hunsucker is hoping for a cornerback, or some other kind of defensive player.

“I heard that 980 people signed up and when Katie Blackburn was asked to pick a number, she picked  mine,” Hunsucker said. “There’s a lot of pressure with that first pick.”

Heldman asked Lewis if they should get ready to call the name of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Since 2004, the Bengals have taken four Georgia players in the fourth round still with the club: defensive end Robert Geathers, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, guard Clint Boling, and tight end Orson Charles. They just missed last year when they took safety Shawn Williams in the third round.

Riley, fifth on the all-time NFL interceptions list with 65, is going to announce the second-round pick. He also holds the club record with 207 games played, so Hunsucker and Heldman know him well.

“He’s one of the most underrated players of all-time,” Heldman said.

Riley played so long that he broke in when the club was at Nippert Stadium and was a key figure on the team that won the 1981 AFC title.

“You got addicted after that year,”  Hunsucker said.

 

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