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NFL Dreams Still Alive for Former Penn Staters

After originally being cut from NFL rosters, the dream of suiting up on Sundays is still possible for several former Penn State football players. Penn State all-time rushing leader Evan Royster and last year’s team captains, Ollie Ogbu and Brett Brackett, have been signed to NFL practice squads.

Royster was originally released by the Washington Redskins, despite a strong pre-season in which he gained 110 yards on 26 carries and scored 1 touchdown. The 6th round pick suffered a concussion in the ‘Skins preseason finale, but was added to the team’s practice squad to add depth at the running back position.

Ogbu had a very productive preseason for the Indianapolis Colts. The 6-foot-1 283 pound defensive tackle registered 7 tackles (3 solo), half of a sack and a forced fumble. The Colts have just 4 defensive tackles on their roster, so if there are any injuries, Ogbu should see some roster, or even playing time for Indy this year.

Brackett, on the other hand, had a relatively quiet preseason for the Miami Dolphins. He had only 1 catch for just 7 yards, but must have made a good impression on the Miami coaching staff, leading to a spot on the practice squad. Miami has limited experience and depth at the tight end position, so it would not be surprising to see Brackett called up to the show and used for his pass catching abilities, especially after the Dolphins waived another former Penn State tight end, Mickey Shuler.

For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of it, the practice squad allows each NFL team to keep 8 additional players on their team who are not a part of the active roster. Practice squads usually consist of rookies or other young players. Players who have 6 or more games of being on a team’s active roster are considered ineligible for the practice squad.

Some other former Penn Staters were signed by NFL teams.
• Pat Devlin – Miami Dolphins (practice squad)
• Chris Baker – Washington Redskins (practice squad)
• Dennis Landolt – New Orleans Saints (practice squad)
• Mickey Shuler – Cincinnati Bengals (acquired off of waivers from Miami)

The following Lions were cut by NFL teams.
• Jay Alford – Seattle Seahawks
• Chris Colasanti – Indianapolis Colts
• Bani Gbadyu – Oakland Raiders
• Larry Johnson – Miami Dolphins
• Jeremy Kapinos – Pittsburgh Steelers
• Aaron Maybin – New York Jets
• A.Q. Shipley – Philadelphia Eagles
• Derrick Williams – Detroit Lions

Lou Eliades (Oakland Raiders) and Rich Ohrnberger (New England Patriots) were placed on the Injured Reserve list, meaning they cannot practice or return to the team’s active roster for the entire season, though they will remain under team control for that length of time.

About the Author

Sam Cooper

Sam is a senior originally from Newtown, PA who majors in print journalism and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His athletic peak was age 11 so he decided to grow a beard and write about sports instead.


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