Jayhawks in the Pros #4 (NFL Edition)
Sept. 6, 2010
Throughout the course of the season, KUAthletics.com will update the status of all the former Jayhawks who are involved with the National Football League. NFL teams just completed their final week of preseason games, and with the first week of the regular season on the horizon, a handful of former Kansas football players will be on an opening day roster.
Former Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who played at KU from 2007-09, was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday as the team needed to get to 53 players on the roster for the start of the season. Briscoe enjoyed his best preseason game last Thursday, catching a 50-yard bomb against the Indianapolis Colts. In five preseason games, Briscoe had four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He was selected by Cincinnati in sixth round of this year’s draft.
Despite missing the final four preseason games with an injury, former Jayhawk offensive lineman Anthony Collins, who played at KU from 2005-07, made the squad. 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, was cut by the Houston Texans Saturday. Fine also recorded his first touchdown of the preseason, making two catches for 27 yards, including a 16-yarder for the score. He was signed by Houston before mini-camp in June after being released by the Buffalo Bills.
Former Kansas linebacker James Holt, who played at KU from 2005-08, earned a spot on the San Diego Chargers’ opening day roster. Holt recorded three tackles and a tackle on special teams in San Diego’s preseason finale against the San Francisco 49ers. During the preseason, he tallied seven stops and a fumble recovery. He is listed as the second-string left inside linebacker behind eight-year veteran Stephen 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, was cutdown day casualty, as he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Hartwig was getting set for his ninth season in the NFL, which the last two were with Pittsburgh. He had started every game for the Steelers since signing with the team as a free agent in March of 2008.
Former Jayhawk fullback Moran Norris, who played at KU from 1996-2000, is ready to begin his 10th season in the NFL, and fourth with the San Francisco 49ers. Norris played in all four preseason games for the 49ers, including Thursday’s loss to San Diego. He carried the ball twice in the four exhibition games for 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, was released by the Tennessee Titans before last Thursday’s game with the New Orleans Saints. Rivera played in three preseason games for Tennessee, making seven tackles including three behind the line of scrimmage. He was signed as a free agent by Tennessee last season.
Former Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey, who played at KU from 2006-09, will make the San Diego Chargers’ final roster. The safety recorded his most productive preseason game in the finale against San Francisco, collecting seven tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage and also added a pass break up. Stuckey missed the Chargers’ first game with an injury, but recorded 11 tackles in the final three preseason contests. Stuckey is listed as the backup at strong safety, behind five-year veteran Steve Gregory. 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, made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster, but missed the final preseason game due to a league-mandated suspension. Talib played in two of Tampa Bay’s exhibition games, and made three tackles. 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, was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday, following the team’s game with the Carolina Panthers. Thornton recorded a tackle on defense and one on special teams against Carolina to give him eight for the preseason. Thornton was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Steelers in April following the NFL Draft.