Ex-Cats in the NFL: Four cut, another to injured reserveby Anthony Gimino on Aug. 28, 2013, under Arizona football
Four Arizona Wildcats didn’t survive this week’s NFL roster cuts, with deeper cuts coming Saturday when teams must trim from 75 players to 53.
Fullback Spencer Larsen (Tampa Bay), outside linebacker Ricky Elmore (Washington) and center Colin Baxter (San Diego) were waived earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, Cleveland cut second-year defensive back Trevin Wade, who was a seventh-round pick last season and appeared in 13 games. He has been suffering from a shoulder injury suffered in camp.
And fullback Chris Gronkowski won’t play in the NFL this season, as the Chargers placed him on injured reserve because of an ankle problem.
Here is an updated look, with some new links, at the 16 other ex-Wildcats in the NFL:
Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago
Briggs enters his 11th NFL season, but his first without the guy he lined up next to for a decade — middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Briggs is now the face and voice of the Bears’ defense, making the defensive calls and in all ways being a leader. He is still going strong at 32, although the days of being a Pro Bowl outside linebacker might be over. He was selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls at one point; Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary are the only other Bears to accomplish that.
Eben Britton, OT, Chicago
Britton signed with the Bears this spring after an up-and-down four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He started 15 games at right tackle as a rookie in 2009 before injuries limited his availability and effectiveness. Britton was limited to a total of 11 games in 2010 and 2011. He is able to play and tackle and guard and appears to be vying for the last spot among eight offensive linemen in Chicago.
Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona
The undrafted free agent is trying to squeeze onto the roster, but he’s not among the three-deep heading into the final preseason game. He has two catches for 23 yards in the preseason.
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
Cason, the 2007 Jim Thorpe Award winner and the brightest defensive star of the Mike Stoops era, started the past three seasons in San Diego. He signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals in the offseason for about $2 million, plus incentives. Cason, a former first-round pick, has 12 interceptions and 55 pass break-ups in his five-year career. He could end up being the nickel back in Phoenix.
Juron Criner, WR, Oakland
Criner was making some headway in the Raiders’ rotation in the second half of last season before suffering a hip injury, finishing his rookie campaign with 16 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. He’s listed as a second-string on the team’s most recent depth chart.
David Douglas, WR, Tampa Bay
Douglas, who was undrafted in 2012, made a good impression in the New York Giants camp but didn’t make the 53-man roster. The Giants brought him back to the practice squad, where he stayed until late November when Tampa Bay signed him. Douglas, who played in one game for the Bucs, is listed as a third-string receiver and second-team punt returner. He caught a TD pass in the team’s second preseason game.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia
Foles, who started six games in his rookie season as an injury replacement for Michael Vick, completed 60.8 percent of his passes (161 of 265) for 1,699 yards, with six touchdowns and five interceptions, last season. Vick won back the job in camp, but given Vick’s injury history, Foles is likely to get a shot at some point this season.
Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
Folk, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie with Dallas in 2007, has connected on 77.9 percent of his field goal attempts (134 of 172) over a six-year career split between the Cowboys and Jets. He has hit on 13 of 24 attempts from 50-plus yards. Folk held off veteran Josh Brown in training camp last year and did the same this camp with Billy Cundiff, who has been cut by the Jets.
Robert Golden, DB, Pittsburgh
Golden, an undrafted free agent in 2012, made the roster as a rookie last season, playing primarily on special teams in 15 games. He’s a good bet to make the Steelers, who can move him between free and strong safety.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
Gronk is recovering from back surgery and it’s not yet known if the Patriots will put him on the PUP list, which would keep him inactive for the first six weeks of the season. Whether he’s being caught partying off the field or catching passes on it, he’s one of the most talked-about players in the NFL. Amazing stat: He has 38 touchdown receptions in 43 regular-season games in three seasons. He already has 187 catches for 2,663 yards.
Earl Mitchell, NT, Houston
Mitchell is entering his fourth season with the chance to be a starter for the first time. He has been a solid contributor to the Texans, making 86 career tackles, and all indications are he’s ready for a breakthrough season after the departure of starting nose tackle Shaun Cody. Mitchell had three tackles for loss, including a sack, in the preseason opener vs. Minnesota.
Fendi Onobun, TE, Chicago
The former Arizona basketball power forward, who played one season of football at the University of Houston, is on his sixth NFL team after being a sixth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010. He has played in four NFL games, making two catches. His preseason has been marked by dropped passes in games.
Recent story: Tight end Fendi Onobun still hopes to catch on
Brooks Reed, OLB, Houston
Reed looks to have a long career ahead of him, starting 23 of the 28 games in which he has played. The former UA defensive end — a second-round pick — is quick with his pass-rushing first step, and Wildcats fans know all about his relentless motor. He has 8.5 regular-season sacks and five sacks in four playoff games.
D’Aundre Reed, DE, Minnesota
Reed, despite being a backup at Arizona, was intriguing enough as an athlete to be a seventh-round pick in 2011. He was not active for the Vikings in any game during the 2011 season and appeared in six games last season. He’s battling for a spot again in camp and is on the bubble to make the team.
Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville
He surprisingly went undrafted but quickly landed with the Jaguars, where he gets to work under quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo, his position coach for two years at Arizona. The Jags’ quarterback race has been the story of their camp, with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne the frontrunners. Scott and Mike Kafka figure to vie for the third quarterback spot. Scott is 12 of 28 for 103 yards in three preseason games.
Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick of Jacksonville in 2009 (No. 107 overall), had 171 catches for 1,768 yards and six touchdowns through 45 games before being traded to Detroit on Nov. 1. He caught just five passes for the Lions in nine games last season and struggled in training camp before being cut Aug. 19. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals a day later.
CUT: Kyle Quinn, C, Arizona
CUT: Mike Thomas, WR, Detroit
SIGNED: Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
CUT: Spencer Larsen, FB, Tampa Bay
CUT: Ricky Elmore, OLB, Washington
CUT: Colin Baxter, C, San Diego
PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE: Chris Gronkowski, FB, San Diego (ankle)
CUT: Trevin Wade, DB, Cleveland
Going to miss my GREAT teammates and great fans. Got to get back healthy! Best of luck to them boys!
— Trevin Wade (@TwoStarWade) August 28, 2013