GALLATIN- When the Station Camp football team held its second day of organized drills on Tuesday morning, one player stood out among the rest - even if all he did was stand on the sideline.
Former Bison standout wide receiver Josh Malone was on hand as current Station Camp players caught passes and ran sprints on the practice field where he spent his high school days.
"It's always nice to come back and see how the guys are doing and how the school is doing," Malone said. "It's great to see them keep improving."
Sporting Tennessee Volunteers workout gear and an NFL-ready physique, Malone spoke of the whirlwind he has experienced since being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in April's NFL Draft.
"It was great," Malone said of being drafted. "It was something I always dreamed of as a kid. It was a blessing to hear my name called on draft day."
Malone agreed to a four-year deal with the Bengals in May. The contract includes a $600,000 signing bonus spread over the next four seasons, but he said he has no plans of splurging any time soon.
"I'm keeping that in the bank," Malone said with a smile. "Football doesn't last forever, so I'm saving it."
Although the hometown Tennessee Titans opted to draft other receivers, Malone said he feels fortunate to be playing fairly close to Nashville. He'll return to the Music City on Nov. 12 when the Bengals square off with the Titans at Nissan Stadium.
"(Cincinnati) isn't that far away and will be accessible to my family," he said. "It's a blessing to play that close to home and to get to play the Titans this year (in Nashville)."
The speedy wideout finished his three-year college career with 1,608 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 31 games. Malone skipped his senior year in favor of the NFL Draft, but said he has nothing but fond memories of his time in Knoxville.
"There were a lot of learning experiences there," he said. "I'm happy with my decision (to attend UT), I've never had any regrets about it. It worked out well and now I get to play on Sundays."