Now that Penn State has taken care of business against UCF, let's catch up with our former Nittany Lions as they pursue their NFL dreams.
As the Penn State universe was engulfed in elation yesterday following $am Ficken's game winning field goal to beat the University of Central Florida, there was plenty of action going on in the NFL as well. Not the same kind of action that involves Anthony Zettel chasing down a running back from behind, or Geno Lewis reaching up and snagging a deflected ball as he falls to the turf, but action nonetheless.
The last saturday of the preseason in the NFL is the day where dreams are achieved or crushed for the majority of the league's population. It is the day when rosters must officially be cut to the final 53 to prepare for the regular season. It can be tough to watch, because so many talented players just don't get a shot due to injuries, established veterans in front of them, or simply one bad game. The NFL is a brutal place though (unless you're Ray Rice), and what it really comes down to is can you stay on a team long enough to earn some guaranteed money.
For numerous former Penn Staters, the first step on that journey was taken this weekend. Yet for others, their dreams of giving induction speeches in Canton, Ohio have been halted or sidelined. Let's see how our Nittany Lions of old fared.
- The Ravens are now (probably) the only team in the NFL that can explain the Instabilities in the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem, now that John Urschel has officially made the roster. Urschel definitely had to fight for his spot, and he will surely need to play well if given a chance to keep it that way, because according to Baltimore Beatdown (considering their running back, they should maybe rename the site) he was one of the last guys in.
- However, what is good for one is not always good for another. As Urchsel makes his way onto the roster, A.Q. Shipley shipped out of Baltimore. However, it didn't take long for A.Q. to find a new job, as the team that traded him to the Ravens has re-signed him. A.Q. is once again a Colt.
- In some sad news out of Carolina, Mike Zordich has been cut by the Panthers. This especially hurts after Zordich spent so much time rehabbing from his season-ending injury a year ago. Zordich has enough potential as a blocker, runner, and leader that he should find work somewhere else. Perhaps someone who knows him well down in Texas will give him a shot...
- What if I told you that Penn State's all-time leading rusher was cut in favor of a man who averaged around 640 yards per season after transferring to USC? Well then I would be telling you the story of the Washington Redskins. The team that is the common love of my new state of residence chose to release Evan Royster in favor of Silas Redd. The move really wasn't surprising given Redd's success this preseason. And after all, Penn State fans always did talk about how Redd would be Royster's successor one day. (For what it's worth, the fans over at Hogs Haven seem to be more worried about the other running backs that were cut, rather than Royster and Redd)
- Multiple pieces of Penn State news out of Jacksonville, starting with the claiming of former Nittany Lion tight end, Micky Schuler, on waivers. Since being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, Schuler has played for seven different teams, the Jaguars making it eight. Let's hope he sticks this time.
- Dreams of a Paul Posluszny-Nate Stupar combo in the Jacksonville linebacking corps have come to an end. No worries though, as Stupar has been claimed by the Atlanta Falcons and will apparently be thrown into the special teams mix right away.
The Seattle Seahawks (Field Gulls)
- It's old news by now that Michael Robinson has stated his intent to move on from his playing days (most likely). He will be remembered extremely fondly in Seattle, as one of the true emotional team leaders, as well as the key to Marshawn Lynch's career rebirth. The bond between those two cannot be overstated, as they were so close that Lynch would even babysit Robinson's children when necessary. The Seahawks have lost a very important piece to their team. But M-Rob will go out on top as a Super Bowl champion, and begin what is guaranteed to be a long and memorable career in broadcasting.
- There will be a new member of the Seahawks keeping the Penn State to Seattle connection alive, and that person is Garry Gilliam. Gilliam's main threat to becoming a real life Seahawk was veteran Eric Winston, who not long ago was an above average player in the league. Gilliam has earned his spot by using his athleticism (he was a tight end first, as you all know) to his advantage during the continued development of his skills as an offensive tackle. All reports on Gilliam from various Seahawks blogs have been very positive, and the coaching staff has said some nice things about him as well. Should anything happen to Seahawks first string right tackle and rookie, Justin Britt, Gilliam very well may be the next man up.
- Finally, Jordan Hill managed to survive another year of roster cuts. The former third round pick was definitely on the bubble this offseason, but has been given a great opportunity. The Seahawks lost three valuable players from their defensive line this offseason, and Jordan was given the chance to prove he belonged on the best defense in football. While the results in the first few preseason outings were shaky, he turned it on, in the final game especially. The staff really likes his ability to fight through the line with his hands, something that not many other players on the Seahawk line specialize in. Look for Hill to get plenty of chances, and have the opportunity to earn more even more playing time.
The Cincinnati Bengals (Cincy Jungle)
- On the surface, the Bengals were the architects of the most shocking former Penn Stater news of the weekend when they released former second round pick and the 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Devon Still. However, Cincy Jungle lends some insight to the decision. Should Still clear waivers and be placed on the Cincinnati practice squad, he will be guaranteed his salary as well as be able to remain in Cincinnati with his daughter (he wouldn't have to travel with the team). So while this move seems harsh on the surface, it seems there is surely thought behind it.
The Oakland Raiders (Silver & Black Pride)
- Former fifth round pick of the Raiders, and former Penn State defensive end Jack Crawford has been cut. It's a little bit surprising considering Crawford saw game time in most of Oakland's games the last few seasons, but with the Raiders defense improving ever so slightly as time goes on, it appears he has just been squeezed out. This one can't feel very good for Jack, who would have had the opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans in London this season had he remained a Raider.
- Our favorite ginger walk on is still a member of the Oakland Raiders. Despite bring in Matt Schaub and drafting Derek Carr (who I admit has been impressive), Matt McGloin remains a member of the Raiders. While Schaub and Carr will be listed ahead of him on the depth chart, we know never to count Moxie out.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (Behind the Steel Curtain)
- In another battle between a former Penn Stater and a former former Penn Stater, Justin Brown has beaten out Derek Moye for a wide receiver spot for Mike Tomlin's team. I was able to watch a bit of the Steelers last year when Moye was in the game, and even though it seemed like they used him strictly for fades in the end zone, they worked. Moye should get a chance somewhere, as his height is an asset that not every team has. Good luck to him.
The New York Giants (Big Blue View)
- The New York football Giants trimmed their roster to 53, and that roster did not include Adam Gress. After picking him up as an un-drafted free agent, Gress was fighting to be a member of the tackle depth for a team whose offensive line has been shaky for the past few years. Apparently they are comfortable with what they have without Adam. Luckily, young backup tackles are typically a commodity that don't go without work for long.
The New Orleans Saints (Canal Street Chronicles)
- After picking him in the fourth round of this past draft, Khairi Fortt has made the Saints and is listed as the second string outside linebacker on their depth chart. And that's all I have to say about that.
The Arizona Cardinals (Revenge of the Birds)
- In what can truly be considered one of the more surprising success stories for Penn State this offseason, Glenn Carson has fought his way onto the Arizona roster. After being picked up as an un-drafted free agent, and being told by many that he was too slow for the pro level, Carson is officially a member of one of the better defenses in the NFL. Granted, the linebacking corps isn't what it used to be, thanks to a suspension for Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby moving to Cleveland, but it is still a top notch unit. Carson will need plenty of luck on his side to stay on the roster, and will have to show that he can make his mark on special teams, but it is quite an accomplishment nonetheless.
Did I miss any? I'm sure I did. If there is more news about former Penn Staters, please add to my work in the comments section below.