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The great hat hunt ends in green and yellow

Unlike the Green Room prospects — those in New York for the NFL Draft, selected in the top 10, who get a hat and uniform handed to them before posing with the commissioner — Daryn Colledge needed some help getting his new team's hat on draft day.

For that, Colledge, selected by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of Saturday's draft, can thank Rich Kitson.

It was Kitson, a family friend of Colledge's in-laws, who hustled to the mall after the first round and staked out the hat shop.

"Can I help you?" a worker asked Kitson.

"Yeah. I want one of these hats," Kitson replied.

"Which one?" the worker asked.

"I don't know — yet," said Kitson, who wasn't about to buy all 32 options.

With cell phone in hand, Kitson soon learned he needed to purchase two Packer caps. He hustled back to the Ha'Penny Bridge Irish Pub and Grill, Colledge's official draft headquarters. By the time the BSU offensive lineman finished talking with the Packers and the Green Bay media and was available for local media interviews, he was proudly sporting a white Packers cap.

So, too, was Colledge's wife, Megan, for whom her first — and likely last — NFL Draft experience ended quite happily, despite some tense fingernail-chomping moments in the second round.

"My wife was chewing one hand and I was chewing the other," Daryn said.

Said Megan, "I could sense his nervousness going up. If he's getting

nervous, I'm going to freak out."

She kept her calm, even as 46 names popped up on ESPN before her husband was picked up by the Packers. Even as 46 players and their families learned where they would be headed next.

Even as she was helpless to do anything but sit, wait and try to ease her husband with soothing hugs and tender touches.

"It's amazing how many people's lives are changed today," she said.

Daryn and Megan began their day on the golf course. With their cell phones handy, of course. One anxious party of 11 teed it up at Boise Ranch at 7 a.m. Daryn shot a very respectable 84.

"If I knew it was going to take this long," he said after he was selected at 4:25 p.m., nearly 61/2 hours after the draft began, "I would have played 36 holes."

But the day's wait, one that deflated nearly all the balloons adorning the celebration, was nothing compared to the four months lag between the end of the BSU season and draft day. Or the 10 months that Megan has been waiting to know where her new home might be. Daryn and the former Megan Sweesy, who graduated from Meridian High and Boise State, married last July.

Since then, Megan — a criminal justice major — has been biding her time before applying to law schools. Now that she knows where her husband will be working, it's time for Megan to get down to business, too.

"She'll probably have something picked out by tonight," Daryn said.

Said Megan, "I think I might go home and get on the Internet."

Any surfing would have to wait.

The Colledges, along with several members of the Boise State team, Megan's family and assorted friends had other plans Saturday night.

Ike Sweesy, Daryn's father-in-law, began the post-draft festivities by purchasing a round for three dozen revelers and a bottle of champagne for a brief toast.

"To Daryn Colledge and Megan Colledge for a great NFL career," Ike concluded, beer raised.

The happy couple, outfitted in those matching Packers hats, kissed.

After much worry and anticipation, their new life has taken shape.

They're in a hurry to get it started, new hats and all.

Statesman sports columnist Brian Murphy can be reached at 377-6444.

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