Twenty years later, Ravens' only Mr. Irrelevant is Dr. Relevant

The only time the Baltimore Ravens had the final pick in a draft was 1998. Then-team executive David Modell was given the honor of making the selection.

Modell scanned the draft board and nearly picked a kicker who didn't have any vowels in his name. He ultimately decided to take tight end Cam Quayle.

"We can nickname him 'the Vice President,'" Modell said at the time, referring to former VP Dan Quayle.

Twenty years later, the Ravens' only Mr. Irrelevant goes by a different title -- doctor. Quayle ended his NFL dreams after two years and became a pediatric dentist, running his own practice in Pleasant View, Utah.

After all this time, the 1998 draft can be remembered for beginning with Peyton Manning, who would finish as the NFL's all-time leading passer, and ending with "The Moose Dentist," which is how the practice is known locally because of its smiling animal logo.

"It was one of the times you look back in life and go, that could've gone so many different ways," Quayle said. "It went the way it did. It's been a great experience."

Quayle, 45, didn't make it as an NFL player. He does, however, approach his second career like a coach.

At 6-feet-6, Quayle will get down on his knees and explain to children what's going on and how they'll be fine during appointments.

One online review stated: "I previously tried another dentist but I didn't feel like they related well to kids. Dr. Cam always puts my kids at ease."

Said Quayle: "I really like the challenge of working with kids and working them through something that was potentially frightening or fearful and earning their trust."

Quayle was accepted to dental school at Virginia Commonwealth University four months before the draft, but he wanted to see whether he could cut it in the NFL. He was the 241st player selected, though he wasn't the first to know about it.

He couldn't watch the draft because his parents didn't get ESPN2. Quayle assumed the draft was over before getting the call from Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda, who let the Weber State tight end know he had been picked. It's significant that Quayle made the cut -- considering future Pro Bowl players like center Jeff Saturday, linebacker London Fletcher and kicker Phil Dawson went undrafted that same year.

Quayle's agent later phoned and told him how cool it was to be Mr. Irrelevant.

"What is that?" Quayle asked. "I never heard of that before."

As the final pick in the 1998 draft, he was the center of attention for a weeklong celebration in Newport Beach, California: He spent a day at Disneyland; he dragged the infield with the grounds crew between innings of game between the Anaheim Angels and Texas Rangers.

Quayle's biggest keepsake was a Rolex watch, which he wears every day. For the staff at his dental office, the best gift was a photo of Quayle lying on a Southern California beach with no shirt on while holding the so-called Lowsman Trophy awarded to Mr. Irrelevant.

Quayle will go to show a child's X-ray, and the picture on his desktop computer is that infamous beach shot.

A parent will ask the guy is without the shirt. "I don't know," Quayle typically responds.

Run-in with Ray

Modell was intrigued by the name, but Ken Whisenhunt -- then the Ravens' tight end coach -- had pushed to draft Quayle because he thought he could develop the Division I-AA pass-catching tight end.

At Weber State, Quayle caught 115 passes for 1,137 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final two seasons. His best chance of making the Ravens was beating out A.J. Ofodile for the No. 3 tight end spot, behind Eric Green and Brian Kinchen.

"The first things that stick out are his size and those hands," Whisenhunt told The Baltimore Sun in 1998. "And he is smart enough [3.61 grade-point average] that he will pick things up quickly and recover from setbacks quickly."

One of Quayle's most vivid memories didn't involve him making a catch. During the course of a play at practice, linebacker Ray Lewis picked up Quayle and threw him to the ground. Knowing he had to defend his honor, Quayle got into Lewis' face and they exchanged shoves.

As Quayle walked back to the huddle, Whisenhunt applauded him, saying, "Good job, nobody disrespects you."

"OK, let's not have that happen again," Quayle responded.

By the end of the preseason, Quayle had been cut, which he said really didn't come as a surprise.

Back to school

Quayle learned life in football isn't always a day at the beach.

After getting picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was allocated to the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea was just outside his front door. But upon returning to NFL training camp, he hurt his neck so badly that he had limited range of motion and needed chiropractic care every day.

"That was when I didn't know what to do," Quayle said.

His agent recommended he pursue dentistry, a profession that had long intrigued Quayle. He was once told by a counselor that dentistry was the perfect fit for him because of his love for people, science and working with his hands.

Quayle graduated magna cum laude from VCU in 2004 with a doctorate in dental surgery and returned home to Utah, where he completed his residency at a children's hospital in Salt Lake City. He now oversees sedation training for pediatric dental residents at the hospital.

But Quayle still feels linked to his Mr. Irrelevant past. He has gone back a handful of times for the weeklong celebrations, and he checks to see who the last player is taken in each year's draft.

"I'm always curious to see who it is," Quayle said. "I let him know, 'This will continue to open doors for the rest of your life.'"