With Brian Kelly's troops ready to start their year sequestered at Camp Shiloh in Indiana, we here at OFD thought it would be an opportune time to spin through NFL camp rosters and look at former ND players getting their feet wet in the professional ranks.
I extracted all these names from NFL team website rosters as of Monday 7/29. I'm sure we can count on the dear readers of OFD to politely point out any omissions or corrections in the comments.
No ND Players: Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins
Giants: Justin Tuck
The NFC East is, by far, the lightest division when it comes to former ND players. With ND's former sack master turning 30 this year, the 2005 third round pick is getting some rave reviews from the Giants staff this fall.
No ND Players: Packers
Bears: Armando Allen, Tom Zibikowski
Lions: Theo Riddick
No word yet if Leslie Frasier allows the boys to lead the team in the ND fight song after victories, but I'm guessing the alumni club of the Twin Cities has some contributing members. It pains me to not see a single ND name on my beloved Packer roster, but with Ryan Grant's exit, there won't be any former Golden Domers riding kids bikes to the Hutson Center. Zibby and Allen both have an opportunity to shine in Marc Trestman's first camp. The Lions liked what they saw out of Riddick in their spring OTA's, so hopefully he can find a way to crack the lineup and maybe give a little Bush Push to get some meaningful snaps and carries for the Lions.
Falcons: Zeke Motta
Saints: Eric Olsen
Bucs: Derek Landri
Zeke will work hard to earn a spot on Atlanta's roster at the safety position while the veteran Landri adjusts to life in Tampa. Olsen begins his 3rd season in New Orleans as depth for the O-Line in front of Drew Brees. Clausen will probably see more of the football in August than he will in September for the Panthers unless Cam Newton is injured. I have to admit, J. J. Jansen was the only name in this article I had to look up - "he's the long snapper!"
No ND Players: Rams
Cardinals: Michael Floyd, Roby Toma
Niners: Darius Fleming, Ian Williams
Seahawks: Brady Quinn, Golden Tate
Do you think we can convince Pete Carroll to put in a go route package for Quinn to Tate, just for old time's sake? Roby Toma left Raven OTA's in spring with enough buzz to get a call to join Mr. Michael Floyd in Arizona this fall. Meanwhile, Fleming and Williams will carve our roles in the NFC champ's stingy defense.
No ND Players: Patriots
Bills: Brian Smith, Sam Young
Dolphins: Jonas Gray
Jets: Darrin Walls
Given all the coverage in Patriot camp centering around felonies and backup QB's, is it ok to say that I'm happy we don't have any ND guys in that swirl? The same can't be said for Darrin Walls, although perhaps a few picks in practice sessions could tip the Sanchez/Smith battle in Jets camp. Brian Smith and Sam Young continue to toil on in the NFL's version of Siberia (sorry Bills fans), while Jonas Gray continues to take his talent to South Beach hoping that his recovery from a bum knee can merit a spot as the Dolphins 3rd back.
Ravens: KLM (Active/Non-Football Injury)
Steelers: Mike Golic Jr.
The Steelers have Golic listed as a tackle on their site, which I found intriguing. KLM is still rehabbing, but remains on the Raven Roster. Slaughter managed to sign a 4 year deal with the Browns, so he and Cave will now battle for visibility in Cleveland's camp. Eifert will likely figure prominently in the Bengal offense as a target for Andy Dalton while Robinson begins his 2nd year in the mix on the Bengal offensive line.
No ND Players: Jags and Titans
Texans: Ryan Harris, Cierre Wood
Colts: Sergio Brown
Brown begins his second season in Indy after a year with the Pats and Wood enters Texan camp with a lot to prove after going undrafted in spring. Journeyman Ryan Harris looks to find a spot in the O-line rotation protecting Schaub in Houston.
No ND Players: Raiders
Broncos: David Bruton
Chiefs: Anthony Fasano
Chargers: Manti Te'o
I guess Al Davis can't find any former Irish to help him just win, baby. Bruton, a Bronco special team stalwart opens his fifth camp with Denver. Fasano takes his 24 career TD's from the shores of South Beach to the heartland of KC. And last, but certainly not least, Te'o is likely keeping a catalog of fake girlfriend jokes from the San Diego media (and locker room) as he looks to anchor the Charger defense.
Best of luck to all former Irish football players as they compete in their camps!