Ex-Cats in the NFL: Ten make active rostersby Anthony Gimino on Aug. 31, 2013, under Arizona football
Six former Arizona Wildcats got the bad news in the past couple of days, released from their NFL teams.
Undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Matt Scott is among that group, cut by Jacksonville, which decided to keep Ricky Stanzi as its third quarterback.
One of Scott’s favorite targets last season — Dan Buckner — didn’t survive the Arizona Cardinals’ cuts. Neither did ex-UA receiver Mike Thomas, who signed with the Cardinals just 10 days earlier.
The Chicago Bears said they liked the athleticism and potential of tight end Fendi Onobun, a former UA basketball player, but the preseason production was lacking. Onobun has bounced among six NFL teams. He’ll be looking for a seventh.
Third-year pro D’Aundre Reed didn’t survive the final Minnesota Vikings’ cut-downs. And second-year receiver David Douglas, who had earned some public praise through camp, was let go by Tampa Bay.
That leaves 10 ex-Wildcats on active rosters, with some of the above potentially landing on practice squads.
Here is an updated look at where the Wildcats are:
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 both tackle spots and guard.
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.
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, and Foles struggled in the final preseason game, going 6 of 17 for 623 yards with a lost fumble.
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 was 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 when he’ll be able to play. 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.
Recent story: Gronkowski is on the roster, but is he able to play?
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.
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.
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
CUT: Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona
CUT: Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
CUT: Fendi Onobun, TE, Chicago
CUT: Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville
CUT: David Douglas, WR, Tampa Bay
CUT: D’Aundre Reed, DE, Minnesota