Jayhawks in the Pros #3
Aug. 30, 2010
Throughout the course of the season, KUAthletics.com will update the status of the 12 former Jayhawks who are involved with the National Football League. NFL teams just completed their third week of preseason games, and with the season opener looming, several former KU standouts looking to be on the final roster. The NFL holds its first cut-down day tomorrow.
Former Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who played at KU from 2007-09, is participating in his first preseason camp with the Cincinnati Bengals. Briscoe played in his fourth preseason game Friday – a 35-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills – and recorded two catches for 28 yards, including a 17-yard reception in the fourth quarter. In the preseason, the former KU wideout has three catches for 39 yards. Briscoe was selected by Cincinnati in sixth round of this year’s draft.
Former Jayhawk offensive lineman Anthony Collins, who played at KU from 2005-07, is in camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, but did not play in Friday’s preseason game against Buffalo due to a foot injury. This marks the second-straight week that Collins has not played. Collins is listed second on the depth chart at left tackle for the Bengals, behind incumbent starter Andrew Whitworth. Collins has played in 23 games in two years with Cincinnati, making 13 starts.
Former Jayhawk tight end Derek Fine, who played at KU from 2004-07, is in camp this season with the Houston Texans. Fine has played in three preseason games for Houston – the latest a 23-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys Saturday – but has not recorded a catch. He has been used as an extra blocker in different formations for the Texans. He was signed by Houston before mini-camp in June and is listed as the fourth tight end on the depth chart.
Former Kansas linebacker James Holt, who played at KU from 2005-08, is in his second year with the San Diego Chargers. He played in his third preseason game on Friday, a 36-21 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Holt recorded a tackle on special teams for the Chargers Friday, and has four tackles and a fumble recovery during the preseason. Holt is listed second on the depth chart at left inside linebacker, behind eight-year veteran Stephan Cooper. Holt was an undrafted free agent signee by the Chargers in 2009, and played in nine games recording 10 tackles.
Former Kansas offensive lineman Justin Hartwig, who played at KU from 1999-2001, is in his ninth season in the NFL and his third with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hartwig played in his third preseason game Sunday night against the Denver Broncos, but was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Maurkice Pouncey. Hartwig still figures to see significant playing time along the Steelers’ offensive line in 2010. He has started every game for the Steelers since signing with the team as a free agent in March of 2008.
Former KU wide receiver Marcus Henry, who played at KU from 2004-07, was released by the New York Jets on Sunday after seeing action in the team’s 16-11 loss to the Washington Redskins Friday. Henry has been in camp with the Jets for the past three seasons, but has yet to appear in an NFL game. Last season he was on the team’s practice squad.
Former KU wide receiver Kerry Meier, who played at KU from 2006-09, injured his knee in his second preseason game against the New England Patriots on Aug. 20 and will miss the 2010 season. Meier recorded one catch for seven yards in the game against Patriots – and had three catches in the preseason. According to an Associated Press story, Meier was on his way to earning a spot on the Falcons’ team as a backup wide receiver.
Former Jayhawk fullback Moran Norris, who played at KU from 1996-2000, is in his 10th season in the NFL, and fourth with the San Francisco 49ers. Norris started at fullback for the third-straight preseason game Saturday against the Oakland Raiders. He carried the ball twice in Saturday’s 28-24 win, gaining two yards. He played in all 16 games last season for the 49ers, recording seven starts. Norris carried the ball 14 times in 2009 for 41 yards and a touchdown; he also collected seven catches out of the backfield for 31 yards.
Former Jayhawk linebacker Mike Rivera, who played at KU from 2005-08, made a big splash in Saturday’s 15-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Playing in his third preseason game, Rivera made three tackles against Carolina, including two behind the line of scrimmage and knocked down a pass in the third quarter. In three preseason games this year, Rivera has seven tackles, including three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Rivera is currently listed as the team’s third-string middle linebacker on the depth chart behind veterans Stephen Tulloch and Colin Allred. He was signed as a free agent by Tennessee last season.
Former Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey, who played at KU from 2006-09, is a rookie in camp with the San Diego Chargers this year. Stuckey played in his second preseason game with San Diego on Saturday – a 36-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints – and recorded two tackles on defense and one on special teams. Stuckey has four tackles in two games with San Diego. He is listed as the team’s starting strong safety on the depth chart, but has yet to start a game in the preseason. He was selected in the fourth round by the Chargers in this year’s NFL Draft.
Former Kansas corner back Aqib Talib, who played at KU from 2005-07, is participating in his third preseason camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Talib started at left cornerback for the third time this preseason – a 19-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and made three tackles on defense. He has played in 30 games for the Bucs over two seasons, making 87 tackles and nine interceptions in his professional career. Talib was selected by Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Former Kansas safety Justin Thornton, who played at KU from 2006-09, is a rookie in preseason camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He enjoyed a break-out game Sunday in the 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, making four tackles on defense, while seeing significant time in the second half. In three preseason games, Thornton has made seven tackles and is listed as the third-string strong safety on the depth chart behind All-Pro Troy Polamalu and seven-year veteran Will Allen. Thornton was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Steelers in April following the NFL Draft.