NFL training camps have all officially started, with the last of the 32 teams beginning their preseason this past weekend. Of those teams, 13 include former Syracuse football players, two of which are reigning Super Bowl Champions on the Baltimore Ravens. A total of 16 former Orange are listed on active rosters heading into the 2013 season.
The Ravens were among the first to start things off, making last Wednesday the official beginning to their season. Among those reporting were Arthur Jones, a defensive end who played at SU from 2007-09, and Jameel McClain, an inside linebacker who wore orange for three seasons during 2005-07. Jones helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory, recording two tackles and one sack in his defensive efforts. McClain was injured in week 14 last season and did not see minutes in the championship game and is still on injured reserve for the beginning of 2013.
San Diego Chargers
Dwight Freeney made his San Diego debut on Wednesday, heading to Chargers Park this week after being traded by the Colts in the offseason. Freeny, a veteran outside linebacker who played at SU from 1998-01, finished last season with five sacks and twelve tackles for the Indianapolis Colts, where he played for the last 11 seasons after being drafted in the 11th round in 2002.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Williams (2005-09) enters his fourth season as a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Williams started in all sixteen games for the Bucs in 2012, recording just shy of 1,000 receiving yards and catching nine touchdown passes. While at SU, Williams was named to the All-BIG EAST second team during his sophomore season while tying the then-school record for receptions in a season (60). He is listed in the SU record book in 20 other places including first in consecutive games with a touchdown reception and in most receiving yards per game in a season.
Thursday, July 25
Doug Hogue (2007-10) will make his first appearance at Wofford College, site of the Panther’s training camp, after starting last season with the Detroit Lions. Hogue mainly plays on special teams, and recorded ten tackles between the Lions and the Panthers in 2012. While at SU, Hogue started his career at running back before moving to linebacker as a junior. As a senior he was named to the All-BIG EAST first team.
Tony Fiammetta (2005-08) began his career in Chicago on Thursday after starting the 2012 preseason with the New England Patriots and spending the season on their reserve squad. Fiammetta, who was drafted by the Panthers in 2009, was a running back for the Orange for four seasons. While at SU, Fiammetta was a fullback and team captain in his senior season. He recorded 16 catches, one touchdown and a 58 yard carry against Cincinnati, the eventual BIG EAST Champion during his senior campaign.
Alec Lemon (2009-12) signed with the Texans last spring and headed to training camp last Sunday as a rookie. While at SU, Lemon re-wrote the record book, putting his name at the top of the season and career receptions lists (201 and 72, respectively). He was a first team All-BIG EAST and 2013 Senior Bowl selection last season and was just the third receiver for the Orange to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a season, ranking second on the list with 1,070.
Kansas City Chiefs
Former Tennessee Titan and Miami Dolphin Ryan Durand (2005-08) will be a Chief for the 2013 season and reported for camp on Thursday at Missouri Western. Durand, a guard, has appeared in just one NFL game since he was drafted by Tennessee in 2009. While at Syracuse, Durand was named to the All-BIG EAST second team in his senior season, his third consecutive year as the starting right guard.
New England Patriots
The Patriot roster boasts two former Syracuse football players, including starting defensive end Chandler Jones (2002-05) and starting strong safety Steve Gregory (2009-11). Jones finished 2012 with 45 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles. Gregory had 37 tackles and three interceptions for 50 yards last year, his first season with the Patriots.
New Orleans Saints
Andrew Tiller (2009-11) enters his second season in the NFL as a guard for the Saints. Last season Tiller was injured in the preseason and did not see any action after training camp. At Syracuse, Tiller was selected to the first team All-BIG EAST and blocked for 1,000 yard rusher Antwon Bailey in his senior season. He was part of an offensive line that helped the Orange convert 34-of-40 times in the red zone, the second best in the BIG EAST, during his junior campaign.
Friday, July 26
New York Giants
Two former Orange football players will spend their rookie seasons under the direction of Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who played at Syracuse from 1965-67. Standout quarterback Ryan Nassib was drafted to the Giants this past spring along with offensive tackle Justin Pugh, who was selected in the first round. Both Nassib and Pugh finished their collegiate careers in 2012.
Nassib set the Syracuse records for career passing yards and career completions, and ranks second in three other categories. To go with his quarterback prowess, Nassib excelled in the classroom and was the 2012 BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a member of the ESPN Academic All-District teams in 2010 and 2012.
Pugh was selected to the 2012 All-BIG EAST first team and blocked for 1,000 yard rusher Jerome Smith. He was a leader on the offense that set school records in total offense, total offense per game, most plays , passing yards, completions, passing yards per game and touchdown passes.
Shamarko Thomas (2009-12) reported to Steelers training camp on Friday as a rookie. At SU, Thomas was a standout strong safety and co-captain who was selected to the All-BIG EAST first team in his senior year. He ranks sixth in Syracuse history for tackles by a defensive back with 263.
Saturday, July 27
Zach Chibane won’t be changing coaches yet as he follows former SU Head Coach Doug Marrone to the Bills this season. Chibane (2009-12) was an offensive guard for the Orange, blocking for 1,000 yard rusher Jerome Smith and started in all 13 games of the 2012 season.
Delone Carter (2006-10) enters his third season as a running back for the Colts. Last year he put together 122 rushing yards and three touchdowns in ten games played for Indianapolis. Carter maintains his spots in the Syracuse record book with the third most rushing yards in a season and in a career.