Jody Norstedt, Forum Communications Co., Published April 27 2012
VIDEO: Former Bison, NFL star Hansen recalls the day he was drafted
As Phil Hansen sits in his cozy Detroit Lakes home, he can't help but think of what he's going to experience on Friday at the NFL draft.
Phil Hansen – Buffalo Bills Wall of Famer: “If the guy they pick has 18 syllables in his name. That's the only pressure. I hope they pick a John Smith or something. That way it will be easy on me.”
Twenty-one years ago Hansen was sitting in his cozy apartment near the NDSU campus. He had just wrapped up a decorated 4 year playing career with the Bison and the All-American defensive end was waiting nervously for his own name to be called.
Phil Hansen: “I remember, we didn't want to pay for call waiting. So every time the phone rang, I'd pick it up and say ‘hello,’ and, it wouldn't be someone from the NFL or a team. It would just be a friend, ‘Hey, did anything happen yet?’ And I'd say ‘No’ and I'd hang up right away."
Hanson spent that day watching the NFL draft on television, but would never see his name on the screen.
Phil Hansen:” They got through the first round in about three and half hours. Then they started going a little bit faster. Then when they got about 10 picks into the second round and to about pick maybe 35 or 40 everything went off the air and then I just started sitting around looking at the walls because I didn't know what to do, I hadn't prepared for that.”
An hour later the small town boy from Oakes would answer a phone call that changed his life.
Phil Hansen: “The general manager is the one who told me they were about to select me. I couldn't even remember the names of the people I talked to at the time. I could barely remember the team that selected me. It was a very euphoric situation.”
Little did either side know at the time, that they'd be linked together forever. Hanson spent his entire 1 year career with Buffalo and this past fall became the 27th member on the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.
Phil Hansen: “I was part of Buffalo and that holds a very special place in my heart, that 11 years that I spent there in western New York.”
The name he announces on Friday can only hope for a journey like his.