Where are they now? Mike Hass
Hass, who now works for Nike Inc., says he doesn’t look back on a career that wasn’t
Published: Monday, November 7, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
Mike Hass knows the importance of jumping on an opportunity when it arises.
Opportunities allowed Hass to reach the pinnacle of his football success and the lack of them provided a barrier to triumph at the professional level.
Hass, the former Fred Biletnikoff winner who now works for Nike Inc., has accepted the fact that he's run out of opportunities on the gridiron.
To understand Hass's journey, one must start at the beginning. In 2000, coming out of Portland-area athletic powerhouse Jesuit High School, Hass had just won a state title and was the OSAA 4A Offensive Player of the Year. Despite the accolades, Hass was not offered a single Division I scholarship. He decided to walk on at Oregon State.
"I came in when [Dennis Erickson] was coaching and made progress with that staff," Hass said. "I'm on my way to a scholarship when Erickson leaves and all of a sudden I'm just another walk on guy."
It was back to square one for Hass after Erickson departed for the National Football League and Mike Riley was brought in as head coach. A window of opportunity opened for Hass when a few injuries allowed him to move up the depth chart and show what he could do.
"I got lucky. Because of injuries, they had to have me," Hass said. "That's the opportunity I'm talking about. When you have an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it and run from there."
Hass quickly let his prowess on the gridiron speak for itself and by the time he graduated in 2004 Hass held almost every school receiving record and a few Pac-10 records. Hass remains the all-time conference leader in single season receiving yards.
After his senior season at Oregon State, Hass was among the college football receiving elite. A recipient of the Biletnikoff award, given to the nation's top receiver, he had his name etched in history alongside the likes of Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. It seemed he was destined to have a successful career in professional football. But that wasn't the way it worked out.
Hass was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, but was cut just a month after signing a 3-year deal.
One day after being cut by the Saints, Hass was signed by the Bears. Although he showed promise in several preseason games in his time in Chicago, Hass never broke through and saw playing time in the regular season.
Hass signed with the Seahawks in January of 2009, and stuck with them — mainly as a practice squad player — until August of 2010, when he was released.
"It's a different game. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and I didn't get the opportunities during the regular season to go out there and do what I know I could do," Hass said reflecting on his days of bouncing around team to team, trying to make the active roster.
"You don't get the opportunities," Hass said, "you don't get the chance to progress."
It was obvious to Oregon State fans that Hass possessed the abilities to make it in the NFL. Time and time again, Beaver fans have asked, "Whatever happened to Mike Hass...why didn't he make it?" It wasn't because of a lack of talent or of work ethic but because of injuries and a lack of opportunities.
"I think that if Mike Hass had been in the right place at the right time, he would have made it and played," Riley said. "I just think the timing and the teams he was with obviously didn't quite work out, but I know he could have played."
"It's hard to get the opportunities, you get injured a couple times and all of a sudden you are a forgotten commodity," Hass said.
Despite having two major injuries in five years in the league, Hass remained positive noting that a lot of players have dealt with worse and he came out relatively healthy compared to many.
After spending four seasons in the NFL and one in the United Football League, Hass decided it had come to the point where it was time to move on and do something else. He currently works for Nike Inc. in the development department, working on designing new sporting equipment.