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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sammy Vegas - NFL "N"sider

First of all, I want to quickly introduce myself and welcome you all to Double Extra Point. For those of you who do not know me, lets just say that I am not that big of a deal. I have, however, had the privilege of living in two great NFL markets over the past decade, and recently, I managed to find my way back to Nebraska. During that time, I have inherited a great deal of respect for professional athletes, their fans, and their various markets. Coincidently, I have also come to the realization that many Nebraskans are not exposed to, nor as well informed as they could be about their former Husker favorites in the NFL. In addition to Jeffie Husker’s extensive and essential college football insight, I will be adding, on a weekly basis, information on former Huskers playing in the NFL as well as occasionally analyzing the impact Nebraska has had in professional football. I hope you enjoy my contributions and I look forward to a great year.

I'll start with a few quick updates:

•After missing three of the past four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles due to horrific knee injuries, Correll Buckhalter appears healthy and once again ready to contribute to a team that has yet to give up on him. Last Thursday in his first action this preseason, Buckhalter took a Donovan McNabb shovel pass for 48 yards before being tackled at the one yard line. Although he went on to accumulate just 8 yards on 5 carries, players and coaches were “very, very excited” for a guy who has been through so much adversity. Unfortunately, I believe there has to be some doubt about his chances of making the roster as a 28-year-old injury plagued running back. Especially given the Eagles have 5 other younger backs on the preseason roster including Brian Westbrook, Reno Mahe, and Ryan Moats. Regardless, as a Husker or Eagle fan, there is no way you cannot wish continued success to a guy who has always been nothing less than the ultimate team player.

•On a much heavier note, Toniu Fonoti was acquired in the offseason by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the Minnesota Vikings for a 6th round draft pick and lifetime rights to their all-u-can-eat buffet table. After being named to the All-Rookie team in 2002 and a First-Team All-Pro by in 2004 while with the San Diego Chargers, Fonoti appears to have eaten his way out of a second chance. Fonoti played just three games last year and has been plagued with weight-related injuries. He reportedly ballooned up to 400 lbs in the offseason and has since dropped to a svelte 370 lbs in training camp. He is currently listed second on the depth chart, is suffering from a variety of injuries, and has serious motivational issues with his coaches and trainers.

•Staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Barrett Ruud turned heads last Saturday night against the Dolphins. Ruud was given the opportunity to play with the first team defense when the team’s leading tackler from a year ago, Shelton Quarles, was given the night off. In one half of football, Ruud amassed eight tackles, one sack, one pass breakup, and one forced fumble. Although Ruud is second string and will spot play this season, big things can be expected.

•Demorrio Williams was looking forward to another terrific season with the Atlanta Falcons this season, until one phone call changed his fate. With Ed Hartwell back from an achilles tendon injury, the Falcons suddenly had four starters. Williams was “crushed” to hear that he was #4. In case you missed it, last season Williams accumulated 132 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, three pass breakups, and returned a blocked kick for a touchdown. Coach Mora “still considers him a starter because he starts in our nickel.” If I was Demorrio I would be looking to get on the next bus out of town, but the problem is that with the numbers he put up last year coupled with a modest salary, the Falcons could never get what they wanted in return.

•On the other hand, life is good if you are named Kyle Vanden Bosch. Vanden Bosch struck a $22 million dollar deal in the offseason with $15 million of it guaranteed. Last year, Kyle had 12.5 sacks which was 4th in the NFL. Titans Coach Jeff Fisher recently said.
"We've rewarded that type of effort and Kyle is in the position to continue to be if not as productive, more productive than he was this past year. There is no doubt in my mind he will. Kyle is as dedicated to the game as anybody I've ever seen."