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Ocbj Paul Salata Irrelevant Week

Ocbj Paul Salata Irrelevant Week

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Published by SherriLCruz

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Published by: SherriLCruz on Feb 01, 2013
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02/01/2013

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Legacy Handoff Irrelevant Week Founder Looks To Pass On NFL InstitutionSHERRI CRUZMonday, February 22, 2010Most know Salata as the founder of Irrelevant Week, acelebration of the final pick in the National Football League’syearly draft.Salata came up with Irrelevant Week and sold then NFLcommissioner Pete Rozelle on the idea 35 years ago. Now every April, Salata goes on national TV to announce thelast NFL draft pick, who is dubbed Mr. Irrelevant.The designation isn’t meant as a slight. The player is called Mr.Irrelevant because it’s irrelevant where he placed in the draft,according to Salata.“There are only a few hundred picked out of thousands. He’sachieved,” said Salata, who wasn’t drafted to start his footballcareer in the now defunct All-America Football Conference butlater was a 10th-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.Salata, who started playing for the San Francisco 49ers andBaltimore Colts, relates to underdogs. He never was the star  player, though he had his moments.“I sat on enough benches to understand it’s kind of lonely there,”Salata said.
 
The son of Serbian immigrants and one of seven boys, Salataovercame an impoverished upbringing in East Los Angeles andwent to the University of Southern California on a footballscholarship.Even in the height of his football career, Salata worked odd jobsand stashed his money. Then he started a few businesses, boughtand sold real estate and made it to Newport Beach.Melanie Salata Fitch, Salata’s daughter, now runs IrrelevantWeek. She follows up the draft pick announcement with a callcongratulating Mr. Irrelevant and finds out what he might like todo during his week of celebration in June.The pick always comes to Newport Beach and is honored in aseries of events. Some are lighthearted—he gets to sit on a throne(a lifeguard tower) and receive the Lowsman Trophy, a play onthe Heisman Trophy.Mr. Irrelevant usually gets in a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimgame, a trip to Disneyland and a banquet in his honor.Last Year’s Honoree2009’s Mr. Irrelevant was Ryan Succop, kicker for the KansasCity Chiefs. He wanted to learn how to surf. So Fitch arrangedfor a day of beach volleyball and surf lessons.Salata thinks of Irrelevant Week as a random act of kindness.“Doing something nice for no reason is something that appeals to
 
Paul,” said Homer Bludau, retired Newport Beach city manager and Irrelevant Week advisory board member. “He grew up as anunderdog. It kind of mirrors his life somewhat.”Irrelevant Week donates to local charities through event ticketsales. This year, it will support Goodwill Industries InternationalInc.’s fitness center in Santa Ana. Goodwill appeals to Salata because the nonprofit hires people who’ve been on welfare.Irrelevant Week has raised about $1 million through the years for various local charities.Salata now is planning to hand over Irrelevant Week, which has become an institution where everyone plays along, including themedia.“We finally got to that point—what happens when Paul andMelanie leave?” Salata said about himself and his daughter.The plan is to partner in some way with the NFL and to keepIrrelevant Week in Newport Beach. There have been twomeetings with the NFL, one here and one in New York,according to Bludau.Salata and a lot of others want to make sure it stays around for along time, said Bludau, who is filling in as temporary executivedirector while the group seeks a permanent one. He’s alsohelping to raise money this year.There isn’t much doubt that Irrelevant Week will live on. The

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