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It’s finally here.

After months of waiting and anticipating, the NFL gestation period is over and it’s time to give birth to football, NFL-style.

No, there’s not going to be a kickoff and a runback.

Thursday marks the kickoff of the National Football League Draft weekend so teams can find a running back or a wide receiver or a killer linebacker.

You know, as I’m saying this, it occurs to me that with all the loyalty that other professional sports have, there is no player-choosing event like the one that starts Thursday evening.

Sure, I’m interested what ping pong ball the Suns get. The college picks in Major League Baseball get a certain amount of my attention, but no real passion.

Ah, but this draft, the one that goes through Sunday, is a crapshoot with cleats. Hundreds of athletes from schools you didn’t know even played football and super kids you never heard of.

It all begins Thursday at 5:00 p.m., and for the Arizona Cardinals, it begins at No. 20.

I’m Pat McMahon.