By David Carrillo Peñaloza
11:39 PM PDT, July 2, 2012
They say nice guys finish last, so a matchmaker on Monday tried to help Chandler Harnish, the last player chosen in the NFL Draft, find a woman.
"I have to say this for my girlfriend's sake: I'm taken," Harnish said.
It should be the other way around, for his sake when he sees his girlfriend, Tanya Rachan, again.
The quarterback has only spent a couple of days in Newport Beach and he is doing his best to scramble away from the ladies. He will have to avoid groupies for two more days.
Harnish's first mistake was leaving his girl at home during his special week as Mr. Irrelevant XXXVII. Where are his linemen to protect him?
Harnish was one of two quarterbacks drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, the first one went No. 1 overall in the draft and the second one went dead last.
You have probably heard of Andrew Luck, the top draft pick out of Stanford. Can you believe his backup, pick No. 253 out of Northern Illinois, is the one that gets to have all the fun this week?
"I think he was a little jealous," said Harnish of Luck, adding that Luck has been to Newport Beach quite a few times and Luck even gave him advice on where to go in town.
In his first trip to California, Harnish has golfed at Big Canyon Country Club and visited Disneyland and the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina.
The latest stop was for his Irrelevant Week arrival party. He walked in with a white pony at his side, not from behind, because the emcee said you never want to be behind a horse.
A sportswriter was the emcee. Not many laughed at Steve Fryer's jokes. That is why he writes about sports for the Orange County Register and not jokes for comedians.
A matchmaker from Palm and Associates in Newport Beach quickly took over on the stage and grabbed the microphone. She must have thought she was talking to a future millionaire client in Harnish. The guy sitting on a lifeguard tower hasn't made the NFL just yet.
One person who played in the NFL climbed onto the stage. Paul Salata, the founder of Irrelevant Week, wore some colorful pants. He even played for the Colts, back in 1950, when they were from Baltimore.
Since NFL teams don't have fight songs, Salata did the next best thing. He had the fight song for his alma mater, USC, played. USC still pays players, right?
The fight song was played with a trumpet by someone who blows into one before horse races at Santa Anita Park. Salata joked that the guy with the trumpet knows which horse will win each race. Harnish might want to ask the guy which Colt will finish second to Luck on the quarterback depth chart, him or veteran Drew Stanton.
If Harnish doesn't make the Colts, at least he received hundreds of gifts during his arrival party. Salata began reading the gifts off flash cards. He was as difficult to understand as Colts owner Jim Irsay on Twitter.
"I used to do this faster," said Salata, who is 85.
Harnish got a tie from Goodwill, a welcome mat, a Dodger hat, an umbrella, swim trunks, and a Hawaiian shirt, which he'll never get to use in Hawaii as a player. Has there ever been a Mr. Irrelevant in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu?
He also received the kind of helmet a fan for the Minnesota Vikings would wear at a game. Harnish sported the helmet with horns proudly.
Did the Colts trade Harnish to the Vikings during the first day of Irrelevant Week?
The fun continues for Mr. Irrelevant on Tuesday at the All-Star Lowsman Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.