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NFL

Dedicated to football, but I have other interests as well

Courtney Upshaw, a linebacker/defensive end from Alabama, is one of the best pass rushers in this year's NFL draft and is being projected as a high first-round pick. He'll be regularly providing SI.com with his thoughts in the weeks leading up to the draft.

I'm switching things up a bit today. I've been writing about workouts, 40 times, the combine and pro days for a little bit too long. So, at least for this diary entry, I'm going to tell you all a little bit about myself.

I like to think that I'm a pretty laid-back guy. Like anyone else, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, catching new movies and relaxing. I also love getting to the bowling alley. I'm no slouch at the lanes and I find that bowling is a good way to take my mind off of football for a little bit.

Having that distraction from football is a big thing for me. I think about the game a lot -- all the time, really. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed with it. I'm constantly visualizing plays, studying the playbook, talking through schemes and working out. I'll even occasionally dream about a play I made -- or want to make -- in a past or future game. Being able to get away from it all at the lanes, even if it's only for an hour or two, is important.

While my football-focused attitude is certainly a bit intense, I really believe it will serve me well in the NFL. I'll probably have more free time than ever in the pros (having no classes will definitely help with that) and I plan on using it to get as far ahead as I can. I'll be at the treatment table, studying my playbook, talking with my coaches, lifting weights and doing everything I can both in and out of practice to get better. I desperately want to make an impact during my rookie year and you can bet that I'll do everything I can to ensure that I get a shot.

I can't wait until this all really starts with the draft in April. Until then, dreaming -- and, of course, working out -- will just have to do.

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