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Not so irrelevant

It's become a fun tradition, a way to honor not the first player selected in the NFL Draft each year, but rather the last player selected.

The final pick each year is known as "Mr. Irrelevant." It's not a mean, or derogatory connotation, just something to have fun.

This will be the 41st year that "Mr. Irrelevant" will be honored, a tradition established by Paul Salata, a former Steelers draft pick and businessman in Southern California, back in 1976. The idea was to hold a celebration for the player in Newport Beach, California while raising money for charity, including current beneficiary Special Olympics Southern California.

Ironically it was a former Steelers draft pick, wide receiver Kelvin Kirk, who was the first honoree in 1976. Kirk was selected with the 487th overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft. He never played for the Steelers, but spent seven seasons in the Canadian Football League.

But his "Mr. Irrelevant" story had twists and turns that make it, well, relevant.

When Kirk was honored at the event back in 1976 there was one minor issue, it wasn't him attending the celebration. He had missed his flight from Dayton, Ohio to California, and because the events had been planned, they found a stand in, a local 42-year old butcher from a nearby market.

The rest as they say, is irrelevant.

"It started off tongue-in-cheek, and still is in many ways, but the truth is there are a lot more people at the bottom than the top," said Salata. "More people are underdogs than they are chairmen of the board."

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