Louisville Football: Former Cardinals in the NFL
One of the best aspects of college football is that a fan has the ability to watch a player grow throughout their career. If a player makes it to the the pros, a fan has the ability to continue to cheer that player on.
On the list of former players there is a Super Bowl MVP, a NFL season sack leader, a future hall of fame kicker and several young and talented rookies.
David Akers is heading into his 15th year in the National Football League, playing for the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and now the San Francisco 49ers. He has made 338 field goals with a long of 57 yards. He has been a Pro Bowl six times.
Akers played high school football at Tates Creek High school in Lexington, Kentucky before coming to the University of Louisville. He is fifth in all-time scoring in Louisville's history.
Gary Barnidge was selected in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers where he has played the past 5 seasons. Barnidge broke his ankle in last year's training camp and did not play a single game. He is expected to be the second string tight end behind Greg Olson after having a great training camp.
Barnidge had 836 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 36 career games at Louisville.
Josh Bellamy joined the Kansas City Chiefs after not being drafted in this year's NFL draft. The 6' wide receiver has did well during the Chiefs mini-camp and impressed coaches with his quickness. He has one reception so far in preseason play for five yards.
Bellamy transferred to UofL after playing two years Butte Community College. He had 681 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in his Cardinal career. He also played some cornerback during his senior year due to several injuries.
Brock Bolen has spent his entire three year career playing fullback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was signed in 2009 and has played in 20 games rushing for only 14 yards in two career carries. The 6', 230-lb fullback is currently out for two to three weeks with a knee injury according to CBSSports.com.
Deion Branch was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He played four seasons for the Patriots, he was named the Super Bowl MVP in the Patriots 2005 victory over the Eagles where he caught 11 passes for 133 yards. In 2006 he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he played for five seasons. Branch returned to the Patriots in 2010. Now in his 12th season, he has 6,499 yards receiving and 39 touchdowns in his career. Branch played his first preseason game this year Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles; he had three receptions for 51 yards.
Branch played two years at Jones County College before transferring to UofL. He had his No. 9 jersey honored in 2010 in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium.
James Bryant was picked up by the Detroit Lions earlier this year. The 6'3” 257-lb fullback has not carried the ball yet this preseason although he has done well as the lead blocker for in front of Keiland Williams and Joique Bell. Bryant is still fighting for a spot on the Lions roster.
Michael Bush was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. Bush played four years for the Raiders recording 2,642 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He was picked up by the Chicago Bears in March and has been very impressive during the preseason. The 6'1” running back rushed for two touchdowns in Saturday's game against the Washington Redskins.
Bush entered the NFL draft after his junior year, he was recruited by Louisville to play quarterback but switched to running back his freshman year. He had a career rushing total of 2,386 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Harry Douglas is entering his fourth season in the NFL where he has played for the Atlanta Falcons. He was selected in the fourth round by the Falcons in the 2008 draft. Douglas has had 1,112 yards receiving, three receiving touch downs and 1 rushing touchdown in his career. Harry has just returned from a rib injury and will be the Falcons' No. 3 wide receiver. He has three receptions for 27 yards so far in the preseason.
Douglas had 2,924 yards receiving in his Louisville career with 15 touchdowns. He has the second most career receiving yards in UofL history.
Elvis Dumervil was drafted in the 2006 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round. Dumervil is now in his seventh season with the Broncos where he has 172 tackles and 53 total sacks. In 2009 he lead the NFL in sacks with 17. Dumervil has had some off the field issues during the offseason but things seem to be resolving now and he is ready for the 2012-13 season.
Dumervil had 110 tackles and 25 sacks while playing for the University of Louisville. In 2005 he had the most sacks in a season ever at UofL with 20.
William Gay was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 170th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Gay has played the past five season as a Steeler, during this years off-season he was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals. Gay started camp as the starting left corner, he has recorded four tackles so far this preseason.
Gay had 100 tackles and six interceptions while at Louisville.
Breno Giacomini was selected by the Green Packers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL draft. He played two years for Green Bay before being picked up by the Seattle Seahawks. Giacomini re-signed with the Seahawks during the offseason in a two-year deal.
The 6'7" tackle played some tight end while at Louisville, he recorded his first touchdown his sophomore year.
Cameron Graham was picked up by the Tennessee Titans as a undrafted free agent in 2011. In his first year as a Titans he did not record a single reception. Graham helps the Titans have depth at the tight end position but will have to fight to keep his spot on the roster.
Dexter Heyman was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs in April of this year after not being drafted in this year's draft. Heyman was kept on the roster after training camp and will most likely be on the Chiefs' practice squad. He has one pass deflection in his limited time on the field so far in preseason play.
As a hometown kid and the brother of former Cardinal Earl Heyman, Dexter was a very beloved part of the the UofL football team from 2008-2011. The talented middle linebacker had 90 tackles and three interceptions last year as a senior.
Brandon Johnson is heading into his seventh year in the National Football League. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He played two years for Arizona before he went to the Cincinnati Bengals where he played for four seasons playing in all 64 games as a linebacker. Johnson was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers during this years offseason as an unrestricted free agent. The veteran linebacker is expected to have plenty of opportunity to play this year for the Steelers due to having several injuries at the linebacker position. Johnson has six tackles so far during preseason play and one pass deflection.
Johnson was redshirted his freshman year at UofL in 2001, he went on to play an active role on the Cardinal defense the next four years.
Tiger Jones was just recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after having a successful season in the Arena Football League. Jones was the AFL's receiver of the year last season receiving more than 2,000 yards and 47 touchdowns for the Philadelphia Soul. Jones has two catches for 10 yards during preseason play so far this year.
Anthony "Tiger" Jones played at UofL from 2000-2005, redshirting his freshman year.
Amobi Okoye was the tenth player selected in the 2007 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. The 290-lb defensive tackle is heading into his sixth season in the NFL, he played four years in Houston before being picked up as a free agent by the Chicago Bears in 2011. The Bears did not re-sign Okoye after one year and he was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. Amobi had knee surgery in June and has not played in a preseason game yet this year.
The Nigerian born defensive tackle was the youngest player in college football when he started his UofL career at age sixteen. He had 99 tackles and nine sacks in his Cardinal career. He continues to help out the Louisville community with his annual Kick Off 4 Kids event.
Johnny Patrick was the 88th pick overall in the 2011 draft as he was selected by the New Orleans Saints. He had six tackles last year as a rookie corner back and is expected to get some playing time as the nickel back this season. Patrick has four tackles in the Saints three preseason games so far this year.
Patrick had 171 tackles and nine interceptions, including a 99-yard touchdown as a senior, in his four-year career at the University of Louisville.
Bilal Powell was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the New York Jets. He had 21 yards rushing in his rookie year getting 13 carries. Powell has been battling for the third-down running back slot during the Jets' offseason. Jets coach Rex Ryan has spoken well of the 5'10” back during camp and preseason. He has 11 carries for 37 yards in the Jets' two preseason games.
Chris Redman was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2000 NFL draft. Entering his 10th year in the National Football League, Redman played four years at Baltimore and then spent some time in the Arena Football League until he was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. The Falcons re-signed Redman during this years off-season to be starting quarterback Matt Ryan's backup. Redman has thrown for 114 yards and one interception during preseason play.
Earlier this year Redman was voted into the Kentucky NFL Hall of Fame, his jersey was honored in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium in 2009. He is Louisville's all-time career passing leader, he also hold the most passing yards in a season and in a game.
Kerry Rhodes is entering his eight season in the National Football League, he was drafted in 2005 in the fourth round by the New York Jets. He has 541 tackles and 19 interceptions as he has played for the Jets and now the Arizona Cardinals. Rhodes is confident in the Cardinals' defense coming into this season, he has three tackles and one interception that he returned for 60 yards so far in preseason.
Greg Scruggs was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round in this years NFL draft. He did have some off the field issues at the end of his senior season in college but has had a very good off-season with the Seahawks. He has shown he is physical enough to play defensive end in the NFL. Scruggs has five tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Seahawks' two preseason games.
Scruggs came to Louisville from St. Xavier high school in Cincinnati Ohio. He had a total of 61 tackles and eight sacks in his four-year career at UofL. Although he didn't have the best senior season, Scruggs worked hard during Louisville's pro-day that he could compete in the National Football League.
Jason Spitz was selected in the third round by the Green Bay Packers in the 2006 NFL draft. Now in his seventh year, Spitz played for the Packers five years before heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. Spitz played in 10 games last year for the Jaguars but did not start a game. He is currently out with a foot injury, he should return in two weeks.
Byron Stingly was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Tennessee Titans. Stingly did not play a game in his rookie season, but is coming off a good offseason. He is currently out with an ankle injury.
Eric Woods was the number 28th pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. The talented center has battled with injuries in his short career, he is expected to play some in the preseason after returning from and ACL tear. Eric Woods has started 33 games for the Bills in his three-year career.