Mr. Irrelevant Makes Local Fans Proud

By Max Resnik

April 30, 2012 Updated Apr 30, 2012 at 5:39 PM EDT

BLUFFTON, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – According to reports, Chandler Harnish was communicating with the San Diego Chargers about joining them if he wasn’t taken in the 2012 NFL Draft. Then, like a Hail Mary, Harnish was chosen with the last pick, 253rd overall, by the Indianapolis Colts.

To be Mr. Irrelevant is to be something like a cult hero these days. As the pageantry, popularity and time slots involved with the NFL Draft have grown, so too has the concern over who is taken with the final pick. This year, that pick, made by the Colts at 253, was none other than Norwell standout and Northern Illinois University record setter Chandler Harnish.

While things appeared to be normal for a Monday in the Bluffton-Ossian area, a simple mention of the quarterback’s name garnered smiles spanning ear to ear and obvious pride for a guy who has clearly represented his hometown area well. Ossian State Bank took the time to create a graphic with Harnish’s picture and a small note of congratulations to the QB.

Neil Johnson, while eating his lunch at Chef Minion’s Snug Café in downtown Bluffton, says the Bluffton area should be proud of Harnish. He also says the community can benefit from having a young man like Harnish on the national stage.

“I think it’s fantastic. Oh yeah it’s a big deal. I heard on the radio they were talking about how difficult it is [to make the NFL]. Very few players actually make it this far in the NFL, and it’s very exciting that a local kid could do that. I think it's going to bring a lot of attention to Norwell and this area.”

For a title of Mr. Irrelevant, Mr. Irrelevant gets some exciting perks. In addition to forever holding the title as the draft’s last pick, Harnish can also participate in “Irrelevant Week.” It includes gifts, prizes, a trip to Disneyland and a parade in Newport Beach, Calif.

John Bodner, an Ossian native, is also overjoyed for Harnish. Bodner says it will be tough for Harnish to overtake top prospect Andrew Luck as starting quarterback. Many have compared Luck to Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway. Bodner says he hopes the pick by the Colts was not just a symbolic one and adds that he would like to see Harnish earn the title as backup quarterback.

“I was really happy for him. I just hope they give him a chance. I hope it's not a symbolic thing. I hope he gets an honest chance to be the backup.”

Bob Harter calls Harnish an inspiration. Harter can recall Harnish as a child, no higher than his knee.

“I’ve known Chandler’s dad and family really well, his grandpa very, very well. We need somebody like him in our system here. He's been inspirational in doing what he has done in the last four years in college, and I just praise him all the world.”

Harnish can be seen in blue and white Thursday, when Colts rookie camp begins.

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