A whole different ball game
By Shawn Kernahan; photos courtesy of the Vereen family
As many of us kicked back and watched the NFL draft from the comfort of our couches last month, the draft experience from a player perspective is a whole different ball game – just ask resident Shane Vereen.
It was April 29, 2011 when Shane Vereen settled in at his parents’ home in Valencia, California for day two of the NFL draft. The New Orleans Saints traded into the first round to draft Mark Ingram. With that move, Vereen knew it was either going to be him or Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech selected as the running back. Williams wound up going to the Arizona Cardinals early in the second round. The Dallas Cowboys, a team Vereen knew had some interest in drafting him, selected a linebacker two picks later. Vereen looked at the order and saw it was 14 picks before the Philadelphia Eagles would take a turn, and two picks after that, the New England Patriots would choose. Vereen felt good about both teams potentially selecting him.
Watching the TV broadcast, the Eagles were on the clock when the phone rang with “private number” on the caller ID. Vereen answered, and it was Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick let Vereen know he was about to be selected by the Patriots and handed the phone to owner Robert Kraft, just as the TV broadcast announced Vereen to the Patriots. Vereen’s family went crazy in the background.
Fast forward to February 2015, Vereen was a running back with the Patriots and was set to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks were the hometown team of Vereen’s then-girlfriend, now-wife, Taylour Rutledge.
In the game, Malcom Butler intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line to give Vereen his only Super Bowl victory. Vereen admitted, “it was a beautiful victory for me because I wouldn’t have heard the end of it [from my wife’s friends] had it gone the other way.”
In 2017, Vereen was with the New York Giants and looking to find a place for he and Rutledge to put down more permanent roots. He grew up in Los Angeles County, went to college at University of California, Berkeley and had lived in both Boston and New York during his playing days. Vereen wanted to build a home with a yard somewhere quieter and closer to home, but not back in California.
At the advice of a friend, he looked in Colorado and found the perfect lot in The Village at Castle Pines. Vereen and Rutledge got married in Santa Barbara, California on March 31, 2018 and moved into their new home in The Village less than two weeks later.
Last season, Vereen worked as a color commentator for Fox Sports College Football and hopes to return. In the meantime, he and his brother Brock work as commentators for ESTV, an eSports channel featured on the Roku network.