OSSIAN, Ind - It seem that their fate was already figured out-and it could have been described as sunny.
When Ron Harnish contacted his son Chandler on April 28th he asked the simple question of where he might be finding his next place of employment.
"I said 'Hey what does your agent think.' and he said 'Dad, he really thinks I'm going to go in the fifth round to Tampa Bay"," said Harnish.
Chandler, you see, was a quarterback prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft thanks to a solid career at Northern Illinois. A Mid-America Conference player of the year season in 2011 and a solid showing at the NFL Combine figure to earn not only a job in professional football, but the chance to hear his name at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
"So I had Tampa Bay on my mind as a father," said Ron Harnish as the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds got going. "My sister lives in Tampa."
But they didn't take him. Not in the fifth round. Nobody did as the number of picks dwindled in a quickly-proceeding selection process.
"You start losing some hope," admitted Ron as they picks got into the middle 200s. "I know Chandler was doubting himself as a player and that's just some of the feelings we went through."
The quarterback even returned from a golf trip and had returned to a cousin's house near his hometown of Bluffton to see how things would play out. He was in place as the final few picks were taking place when his phone rang out of nowhere.
"From GM Ryan Grigson and he said 'Chandler, we want you to be a Colt," said Harnish of the call he recieved late Saturday night-and it wasn't for a free agent contract.
Indianapolis owned the last pick-number 253 in the draft-and planned to use the pick on Harnish to add depth to its quarterback position. Not long after the call, Paul Salata approached the podium at Radio City Music Hall.
He asked for help when it came to the pronounciation but then said it: "Chandler Harnish, Quarterback, Northern Illinois."
"I couldn't expect to go through a better experience," said Harnish of the drafting-but little did he know it had just begun.
Once Salata finished his name he began to explain the significance of being the last pick in the draft.
"He becomes the 37th Mr. Irrelevant," said Salata which drew some cheers from the crowd-and created a few unusual expressions on the faces of the Harnish family.
"I think negative right away," said Harnish's younger brother Piercen. "I looked it up, irrelevant. It means, it sound like your worthless basically."
Miller-who had a stint with the Chicago Bearsin the mid-1980s as an undrafted free agent-understood this had much more positive undertones.
"Following football its been around. It means you get some extra prizes. you get your photo taken on Yahoo," said Miller. "I saw him on Yahoo a bunch."
This summer, thanks to being picked last, Harnish will find himself on a beach. That's because the final selection since 1976 has been given a free week's vacation in Newport Beach, Calif.. It was started by Salata innocently enough in 1976 with receiver Kelvin Kirk from Dayton.
The Steelers' selection-the final one of that year's draft-was treated to a week of free meals, ceremonies and parties to celebrate his "irrelevancy." But the idea of the event caught on and since then the final draft picks have been treated to such a ceremony.
When Harnish goes, he'll arrive to Newport Beach in a boat to a hero's welcome by local fans. Then he'll have a banquet and parade in his honor as he's given the Lowman's Trophy-which features a player fumbling a football.
They're will also be a trip to Disneyland and a boat regatta in which he'll be the guest of honor.
"So they've put some money into this thing, there's a lot of sponsorship, they're promising him a lot of things," said Ron Harnish of the week. "The articles that I read, its pretty cool stuff."
Such a celebration, however, is far from the mind of Harnish who now has his own work to due to make it with the Colts. Oddly enough the first pick of the NFL Draft was a quarterback to the Colts-Stanford's Andrew Luck-who will inherit the starting position from Peyton Manning.
"Just to pick up as much (of the) offense as I can, and to just show these guys what kind of leader I am on and off the field," said Harnish during rookie mini camp this past weekend. "Being a positive role model and coming out and working hard. Again, just taking as much as you can home with you from the coaches, from different players and from Andrew (Luck).
"I think at the end of those three days it will be very worthwhile.”
Just like the opportunity to be irrelevant.