published Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Ex-Mocs happy lockout is over

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    Staff File Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press UTC's Buster Skrine stands in the UTC locker room.

A mixture of excitement and relief was evident in Buster Skrine's voice.

It wasn't the same as when the former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga cornerback was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in April, but the end of the NFL lockout Monday was big, big news.

"I'm feeling a lot of relief," said Skrine, who was drafted in the fifth round. "I've been very anxious, just because you get drafted and you want to know what it's like to be in the NFL. Now I can't wait to get started."

The Browns open their training camp Friday, but Skrine has to sign a contract before he can take part. NFL teams can begin signing their draftees and undrafted free agents starting today.

"I know training camp starts on Friday, so hopefully I'll be there on time," Skrine said.

Like Skrine, former Mocs offensive lineman Chris Harr was a two-time All-Southern Conference player. Harr wasn't drafted, so he's been in lockout limbo for the past four months.

"It's been rough, not knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing or where I'm going," Harr said. "Buster has known [since April] and has been working toward what he knows he's going to do. I was kind of working in the unknown."

Harr said he's confident he will sign with a team as an undrafted free agent, possibly as early as today.

"I don't know anything yet, but me and my agent have a pretty firm idea of where we're going and hopefully it'll be sure [today]," he said.

Because Harr wasn't able to sign with a team after the draft, he missed out on the chance to go through mini-camps and other organized team activities. That could put him at a disadvantage if he does report to a training camp.

"It's going to hurt me more in terms of getting on the roster," he said. "I won't have as long to learn everything, but I think if I work hard and don't just blow up, then I'll be OK."

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.

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