Eight former Kansas University football players are listed on the rosters of the 32 National Football League teams on the opening weekend of preseason camps.
Two of the former Jayhawks are rookies -- offensive tackle Adrian Jones, fourth-round draft pick of the New York Jets in April, and punter Curtis Ansel, who signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent.
The Jets announced Thursday that Jones (6-foot-4, 296 pounds) had signed his contract. He heads into training camp as the primary back-up to Jason Fabini at left tackle position.
Terms of his contract were not disclosed, and Jones' agent could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Kwamie Lassiter, a strong safety with the San Diego Chargers, is the dean of the former Jayhawks in the NFL. This will be the 10th pro season for the hard-hitting 34-year-old defensive back who is coming off knee surgery that ended his 2003 season prematurely. Lassiter missed the Chargers' last six games, but is penciled in as the starting free safety on the club's preseason depth chart.
Don Davis, a reserve linebacker with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, is another veteran. Davis, an Olathe native, is back for his eighth pro season. The other one-time Jayhawks in the NFL are corner Andrew Davison with Dallas, fullback Moran Norris with Houston, center Justin Hartwig with Tennessee and defensive end Ron Warner with Washington.
Norris is a fourth-year pro who was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Hartwig and Davison are in their third NFL seasons while Warner, who was picked up by the Redskins late last December, is listed as a second-year pro.
Hartwig is a starter. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native answered the bell in every game for the Titans last season after seeing limited duty as an offensive guard as a rookie in 2002. A sixth-round draft choice of the Titans in 2002, Hartwig was an offensive tackle for the Jayhawks.
Norris played in all 16 of the Texans' games last season, starting nine, but the Houston native was used mostly as a blocker. The 6-1, 250-pounder caught seven passes, but had no carries. Norris also returned five kickoffs.
Davison played in just four games for the Cowboys in 2003, mostly on special teams, but Dallas tendered him a one-year free agent contract last April for the NFL minimum of $380,000 for a third-year player.
Warner, who compiled a school record 201/2 sacks in just two seasons with the Jayhawks after transferring from Independence Community College, has been with four NFL clubs, including the Saints who drafted him in the seventh round in 1998.
Warner was released by Tampa Bay at the end of the Bucs' 2003 training camp and signed with the Redskins in October of 2003. He was released a week later, then re-signed in December and played as a reserve in the 'Skins' regular-season finale.
Three familiar names -- Gilbert Brown, Dana Stubblefield and Gerald McBurrows -- are missing from NFL rosters this season.
Brown, who spent 10 seasons as the Green Bay Packers' nose tackle, was released last March. McBurrows, who has eight seasons in the NFL with St. Louis and Atlanta, was not offered a contract by the Falcons and remains an unrestricted free agent. Stubblefield, a former All-Pro defensive lineman, is also available after the Oakland Raiders declined to offer him a contract.
Stubblefield, arguably the best defensive tackle ever to play for the Jayhawks, will have to forfeit his first three game checks if he does land an NFL contract. Stubblefield and former Raiders' teammates Chris Cooper and Barret Robbins were fined three-games pay by the NFL for testing positive for the steroid THG.
A handful of other former KU football players have also been released prior to the start of preseason camps. They are quarterback Bill Whittemore (Atlanta), offensive lineman Justin Sands (Cincinnati), long snapper Sean McDermott (New England) and defensive tackle Nate Dwyer (Seattle).
|Here are the former Kansas University football players listed on 2004 preseason NFL rosters:Dallas Cowboys -- CB Andrew Davison.Detroit Lions -- P Curtis Ansel.Houston Texans -- FB Moran NorrisNew England Patriots -- LB Don Davis.New York Jets -- OT Adrian Jones.San Diego Chargers -- S Kwamie Lassiter.Tennessee Titans -- C Justin Hartwig.Washington Redskins -- LB Rod Warner.|