Guss Armstead is a strength and conditioning coach by trade. But lately, he has played the role of taxi service, hauling heavy cargo.
Over the weekend, he flew with his youngest son, Arik, to Oregon, where the 6-foot-8, 295-pound lineman from Pleasant Grove High School is getting a head start on on the Eugene campus. Classes started Monday for the early prep graduate, with spring practices kicking off today.
Late Sunday night, Armstead picked up older son Armond from Sacramento International Airport. Armond started for two years at USC on the defensive line and graduated with a sociology degree in December.
Wednesday at Sacramento State, 6-5, 295-pound Armond will work out for NFL scouts in preparation for the draft later this month.
Representatives from as many as 18 NFL teams will watch Armstead go through drills.
"It's an exciting time for the entire family," Armond said.
Armond said he is in good spirits and in "great shape." His physical condition is paramount as prospective NFL teams consider draft picks investments.
Last spring, Armstead was briefly hospitalized after experiencing chest pains. He later was cleared by several doctors to resume football action.
USC, however, denied Armstead medical clearance to play last fall, apparently to err on the side of extreme caution. USC coaches and school representatives declined to discuss the matter.
Armstead, citing numerous tests with various doctors, said he does not have a heart condition. He declined to elaborate, calling it a personal matter.
Armstead was weighed and measured last month at USC's pro day, but because it was a school-sanctioned event on campus, USC attorneys did not allow him to participate in drills, citing the same concerns from last fall.
Armstead said he considered transferring to play one more season this fall, taking recruiting trips with Arik to Notre Dame, among others. But USC told him it would block any such moves. USC apparently would rather see Armstead in the NFL than at another college.
Armstead already has met with the Patriots, Raiders and Dolphins. Dolphins and Raiders personnel met with Armstead at USC last month. Patriots officials watched him work out in Southern California before speaking to him.
Sunday, Armstead will fly to Miami for another meeting with the Dolphins.
How he fares in Wednesday's pro day at Sac State could determine when and if he's drafted. Entering last spring, Armstead was projected by NFL draft experts as a late first-round pick or a second-round choice. At the very least, he anticipates a free-agent offer if he goes undrafted.
"I'm ready to go," Armstead said. "When I was hospitalized last year, I wasn't scared. I knew I was OK and the tests showed that. But I saw how it affected my family. It was nerve-racking for them.
"I've stayed even-keeled through all of this. It's made me appreciate things, and it's motivated me. I'm always inspired by a challenge, and challenges are what I live my life for. I've never been nervous about any of this. I'm ready for the next step."
Armstead said NFL teams have access to his medical files. His agent is Don Yee, a Sacramento native who also represents other local NFL players. Yee said he isn't concerned about Armstead's health, nor should the NFL be.
"As for Armond's health, he's fine," Yee said from his Los Angeles office. "NFL teams have the information, and they can draw their own conclusion. I don't foresee any issues."
In sizing up Armstead, Yee said the NFL is about to gain an intriguing prospect.
"Armond has rare size for his position, and he's a very, very good athlete," Yee said. "That size and ability afford him a great degree of versatility. He can play different positions on the line. He didn't play last fall, but the silver lining is he doesn't have any wear on him."
The articulate Armstead said he enjoys NFL interviews.
"The teams want to know who you are, what you are," Armstead said. "They want to know about you as a person, your family structure, if you've ever been in any trouble, what sort of player you are, what style of play, what your favorite pass-rush move is. They want to know who they are about to employ."