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Cats Gettin Paid

So, the way this works is that this week, I'm just continuing my really random posting schedule, but next week is Auburn week. It'll be good. 

As for today, t's time for a roundup of professional football playing ex-NU students, and how they're faring so far this fall. All 15 or less of them. And only 13 weeks into the regular season!

And no, I couldn't come up with a better title. Plus, a google search reveals the phrase "Cats gettin paid" was said by Akrobatik in this song featuring Little Brother, and if you don't know about Little Brother, well, hear about them. I'm not sure how combining two great lyricists with one of the best producers in the game doesn't create mainstream waves, but The Listening and The Minstrel Show are top ten albums of the decade in my opinion, just sayin'. 

So yeah, Cats gettin paid.

Let's start out with the people in the NFL: 14 ex-Cats are being payed by NFL teams to play football. Of these, two are on their respective teams' active rosters but have not yet played, and two are on practice squads, leaving ten players who have played downs in the NFL this year. 

I'ma make you hit the jump for it, though:

  • Luis Castillo is probably the most prominent NU grad in the NFL, having signed a $43 million dollar contract in the offseason. As you probably know, Luis is San Diego's starting right defensive end, but he's had a pretty off year - in the first 10 games of the year, he had 20 tackles and only two sacks, which seems kinda low, don't it? - and then a calf injury in week 11 has had him out since and he's doubtful right about now. Also, he still has the same name as a baseball player. 
  • Barry Cofield as he has been for the past few years, is the Giants left defensive tackle, and one of NU's vastly important Super Bowl champs. The Giant's defense has fallen off a cliff this year and the team has lost five of seven, but it's not Barry's fault. (And if it is Barry's fault... well, wow, he's pretty bad. But it probably isn't.) In fact, reading briefly about what the Giants blog on this here SBN has said about him, he's been doing pretty decent. 
  • Nick Roach has had a pretty decent sized role for the Bears this year, since Brian Urlacher had a season-ending injury way back in week one. Roach has been starting all over, including a few games at middle linebacker, which is a pretty hard position to randomly move into, and has since swapped out to strong-side linebacker, where he's been great from what I read. He's 3rd on the team with 61 tackles and in a 30-6 win against Cleveland, forced to fumbles. So that's aight. 
  • Trai Essex, NU's other active Super Bowl Champ, has started every gosh-darned game of the season at right guard for the Steelers. Yeah. Oh yeah.
  • Kevin Bentley, everybody's favorite linebacker for the Houston Texans (depending on your feelings on DeMeco Ryans), is a linebacker for the Houston Texans. He don't start, but he ain't doing too bad. In other "me potentially making things up" news, I thought I remembered seeing him recover a fumble and being like "hey, he went to NU!" but a quick check of the actual stats shows that this never happened. where my journalism professors' fears of blogs killing real journalism come true!
  • Ike Ndukwe got traded from the Miami Dolphins to Kansas City right before the season started. Although initially super excited to go from a potentially decent team in a crappy city like Miami to a terrible one in a gorgeous metropolis like Kansas City, Ike saw he might not get any playing time. Then KC's starting right tackle got injured, and Ike started the first three games of the year, earning the love and friendship of many Kansas City natives. He's back on the bench now, though. You might think this is all totally boring, but it somehow started a 44-comment thread over at the Chief's SBN site. 
  • Zach Streif totally started a game at left tackle for the Saints. I remember this, because they were playing the Jets, and I was watching because I'm a Jets fan, and I got really happy when I saw his name and "Northwestern" on the starting lineups, and then got really sad when I saw him celebrating in the end zone against my team. I may or may not hold a grudge. Anyway, he's played in every game this year, but is still generally a backup behind ex-Towson Tiger Jermon Bushrod, whose apparent only goal in life is proving that the Tigers' 47-14 loss to Northwestern earlier this year was a fluke, considering which school produced the more prodigious New Orleans Saint left tackle. 
  • Tyrell Sutton is a player I pay special attention to, because he's the only person to fall into the middle of the Venn diagram for "Players in the National Football League" and "People Rodger Sherman has had a class with." He was signed by the Packers out of training camp, but they cut him, which turned out to be a smart decision, because injuries and a terrible-to-begin-with running back corps has forced the Pack to give heavy reps to the exhumed corpse of Ahman Green, and if he gets hurt, I hear their GM has Samkon Gado on speed dial. (The Ahman Green part wasn't a joke. He's playing for them. It's 2009.) Anyways, Tyrell caught on with the Carolina Panthers, where he was a fourth-string running back for a long time, but when fullbacks Brad Hoover and Tony Fiametta both got simultaneously injured, that guy who was supposedly undersized to be a Big Ten running back had to see playing time as an NFL fullback, getting three rushes for 15 yards and a catch for 11. And this past weekend against Tampa Bay, with DeAngelo Williams out, we was second-string, earning 6 carries for 38 yards, including a 20 yarder. He's generally been a kick returner - a pretty good one at that - and an occasional third-string back. I saw him get some late-game tick against the Jets a few weekends ago. Him blocking people isn't pretty, because he's like, 5'8, but I think he can stick in the league. He's clearly got the skills to elude people like he did in college, be it returning kicks or running, someone's just gotta give him a chance. For those of you intrigued, here's what he looks like in an NFL uniform - weird that they let him use the LaDanian visor, he never got one of those in college.
  • Jason Wright has barely played as a third-string running back for the Cardinals behind Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower- two rushes for eight yards, six catches for 38 - but two of those receptions were for touchdowns. This leads me to believe they're probably bringing him in as another blocker or random backfield body on goal line sets and every once in a while he swings out and happens to get open in the end zone. We at NU call this "The Brendan Mitchell".
  • Marquice Cole has caught on with my Jets. I noticed this when he had a pick in the preseason, and the announcer was like "he went to Northwestern" and I was like "word?" and then the announcer didn't say anything because he couldn't hear me. Anyway, after being cut by three teams in the offseason in the two seasons since he left NU, Cole finally caught on with the Jets after a preseason perfomance that included that pick I mentioned, as you can see here. But as you can see here, he got cut like three days later. But as you can see here, he got signed again like a week later, and has recorded six tackles on special teams. (at least I think they're on special teams. Haven't seen him on the field in actual play yet, then again, I don't get to watch every Jets game out here in Illinois.)
Now, the practice squadders, because being a technicality on an NFL roster is better than being nothing at all: 
  • Brett Basanez, Northwestern's practice squad hero and the one person you can point to if someone ever says there are no NU QB's in the NFL, is spending his third year primarily on the practice squad of an NFL team. His first two were with the Panthers, but you can't spend three years on the same team's practice squad apparently, so he had to move on, and he did, to Chi-town. It doesn't look like he'll break the iron grip Jay Cutler has on throwing passes to Chicago's opponents anytime soon, and second-string Caleb Hanie has only thrown two passes on the season, so Basanez is deep bench.
  • John Gill has been rocking the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad all season long, making me wonder whether practice squads get rings. 
The NFL may have a virtual monopoly on the football world, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other football leagues out there. Northwestern basically runs the UFL, after all.
  • Prince Kwateng was basically a star for the California Redwoods (jesus these team names are awful). The Prince picked up 20 tackles on a team coached by ex-Northwestern coach Dennis Green. The Daily covered it and stuff. 
  • Tim McGarigle, the guy who somehow holds the NCAA record for tackles, purportedly had a great season for the Florida Tuskers (again with the names!) who went on to the UFL Championship. (then again, there were only four teams, so he had a one in two shot.) There were articles written about him and stuff. 
  • A lot of people heard CJ Bachér was in the UFL and talked about it because the concept of your recent starting quarterback being in the UFL is inherently disappointing. What they didn't know is that Bachér didn't hang on in the UFL - after what was apparently a pick-filled preseason, Bachér got cut by the New York Sentinels, who opted to go with NFL has-beens Quinn Gray and Ingle Martin at the quarterback slot. However, this Sentinels blog (a concept even more depressing than the UFL itself) reports that Bacher got resigned towards the end of the season. Although lord knows whether or not they put the accent aigu on his jersey. 
  • After being cut by the Browns, Noah Herron decided to play for the Sentinels about halfway through the season, and although he suffered a pretty gross injury apparently, he's doing fine. No word on whether or not he stuck out the season. The biggest thing I found searching for news on Noah on google is that he really got screwed over by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in terms of salaries last season. 
And now, for my final act, I'll discuss what was in my opinion my weirdest post of the summer: this one, originally written back on my blogspot account about how three ex-NU players - David Oredugba, Demetrius Eaton, and Deante Battle were playing professional football in Finland, of all places. No updates on Oredugba - for all I know, he's still balling in Finland - but I did receive a very cryptic message from Eaton a few weeks after that post.
No hit me up, I have all the answers you need. This is Demetrius. I've been back for the last month and Deante is actually still out there and wont return until the 14th. Some bs happened out there which sent me packing. Hit me for the exclusive!

I hit Demetrius up for the exclusive, but didn't get any further information. According to this post, Battle was back in Evanston tearing up IM football, but I wasn't there to witness it. 


So that's that. If you made it through this whole thing, you're a champ. I stay grinding, so, keep coming back for more.