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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utes' Lotulelei declines trip to New York for NFL draft

A trip to New York and the chance to experience the NFL draft in person wasn't enough to entice Star Lotulelei to participate in the hoopla as Lotulelei announced through his agent on Wednesday that he will watch the draft from his home in Utah.

Lotuelelei, never one for media attention, was invited to the draft which begins April 25 but said he preferred to share the experience with his family and friends.

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"Being invited is a tremendous honor and I am grateful for the consideration," he said in a statement. "After discussing it with my family I have decided to stay in Utah for the draft so I can share this moment with all the people that have supported me my entire life. I expect over 50 family and friends at our home for this wonderful occasion."

Lotulelei was projected by some to be the first pick before a medical exam at the NFL combine revealed his left ventricle wasn't functioning properly. Recent testing performed at the University of Utah showed his heart function was indeed normal, alleviating any concerns his pro career could be in jeopardy.

Lotulelei currently ranks 16th on NFLDraftScout.com's board.

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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