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Falcons draft pick grappling with tragedy
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It should have been one of the happiest days in Kerry Meier's life, a lifelong dream come true.
If only he could make the nightmare go away.

On Saturday, five days after older brother Dylan died in a tragic accident during a hiking trip with almost the entire close-knit family looking on, Kerry was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. The record-breaking wide receiver from Kansas was taken in the fifth round.

But on Monday, Dylan Meier, a former quarterback at Kansas State and member of one of the state's most prominent family of athletes, will be buried.

"It's so hard and so hard to grasp onto right now, four or five days later after my brother passed away," Meier said in a conference call with media who cover the Falcons. "It's a surreal experience and something I still don't really feel it happened. I'm thinking my brother is going to come walking through that door with that big smile on his face."

Dylan, 26, died in an accident while hiking with Kerry and other family members in Arkansas. He had planned to fly to South Korea to become an English teacher after Kerry was drafted.

"For the 26 years that my brother lived and me being able to be a part of 23 of those, it's something that you can't really put into words, the bond and relationship that we had and the type of guy he was to me, being a big brother," Meier said. "You couldn't ask for a better guy. He was very protective and looked out for me in every way possible and it's definitely going to be very hard to let this guy go."

The oldest of the football-playing brothers, Shad Meier, was a tight end at Kansas State and played in the NFL for six years, mostly with Tennessee.

Kerry, who is 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, converted from quarterback to wide receiver for the Jayhawks and set a school record with 102 catches for 985 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. He set another Kansas record with 226 career catches.

"Being an ex-quarterback, I think I bring a knowledge of the game and just being a good football player," he said. "I'm not going to wow you with my speed or anything like that, but I think that one thing I do well is I pay very, very close attention to what I do. I pay close attention to details and I think I do the ordinary things well. I think with the opportunity I have coming in, anything I'm asked to do I think I can do it."
He still feels as though Dylan is looking after him.
"The news I got today, besides me being the happiest guy, he's the second-happiest guy for me," he said.

"He's pushed me through a lot of tough times growing up and he's always been right there for me and with me and has been carrying me along and telling me how much he loved playing the game of football at Kansas State. He showed me the direction and showed me the way and now I just want to continue my football career in honor of him and continue to play well, just the way he played."
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