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Daily Pilot

Irrelevant Week

Mr. Irrelevant hits town

Ozougwu, with arms larger than his ego, embraces opportunity to be embraced this week.

By David Carrillo Peñaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com

11:32 PM PDT, June 20, 2011

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NEWPORT BEACH — Cheta Ozougwu found out on Monday why a 12-year-old boy pegged him as this year's Mr. Irrelevant on his draft board.

He met Spencer Park, who won $1,000 by correctly guessing that the Houston Texans planned to use the last pick in the NFL Draft on Ozougwu. Park explained why he went with Ozougwu.

He said Ozougwu's name was the funniest, so it made sense Ozougwu was going dead last at No. 254.

Ozougwu, whose parents are from Nigeria, just laughed it off. This was not the first time someone teased Ozougwu about his last name, which is pronounced, "oh-ZOO-goo."

"Middle school kids are brutal," Ozougwu said.

"First day of class was always terrible, man."

The first day of Irrelevant Week turned out quite the opposite for Ozougwu, Mr. Irrelevant XXXVI.

He no longer is a kid. Whoever made fun of Ozougwu knew they had to deal with a 6-foot-2, 247-pounder afterward.

His arms were too big for the Texans jersey he wore during the arrival party at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina. Ozougwu will never get to use that jersey in an NFL game anyway because the number on it is 254, so it was OK if the sleeves ripped.

Heck, Ozougwu might not even get to use any jersey this season as the NFL is in a lockout. If there is no football, guess what Ozougwu plans to do?

Yes, continue to build those biceps and triceps, as if those muscles needed any work.

"I'm still controlling what I can control and that's working hard each day and making sure that I'm prepared for camp," Ozougwu said.

As for his exercising plans while he is in town the next three days, they might include the beach.

"I'm about to get my Baywatch on," joked Ozougwu, who admits he cannot swim that well.

But he does know the swim move in football.

Ozougwu played defensive end at Rice University, which is in Houston, where he was born and raised. Houston is where he hopes to continue his playing career.

The hometown kid feels blessed that the Texans drafted him. He calls Houston the best city in the world.

That is because Monday was his first day in Newport Beach.

"The weather is a lot better, I'd say that," Ozougwu said of Newport Beach. "It's like 100 degrees right now in Houston and I'm not looking forward to that."

What Ozougwu is looking forward to is spending Tuesday at Disneyland with his family. The trip to one of Orange County's leading attractions will be Ozougwu's first.

"I'm excited about it; go see Mickey Mouse," Ozougwu said.

His parents, Aja and Josephine, brothers Chuck and Joseph, and sisters Chinenye and Ngozi are coming along.

Some of his family members were introduced at the arrival party, before Ozougwu received hundreds of gifts.

He remembers his father asking him at age 5 what he wanted to do when he got older. The camera was on, and Ozougwu said, "I want to play football."

Ozougwu feels he is on his way to making a living playing football. Paul Salata, the founder of Irrelevant Week, believes in Ozougwu, even though it takes him some time to say Ozougwu correctly.

"Give me a minute," said Salata before looking around for help.

Where is that 12-year-old kid when you need him?