Nicholas Edwards and Nathan Overbay still trying to secure roster spots to join six former EWU players in the NFL and another six currently playing in the CFL
Six former Eastern Washington University football players are currently on National Football League rosters, with two others trying to secure their place in the coming days in NFL training camps which will all be underway soon.
Those eight players join six currently playing in the Canadian Football League, in addition to a record-breaking and playoff-bound quarterback in the Arena Football League.
The current NFL players are led by eight-year veteran offensive tackle Michael Roos of the Tennessee Titans, who has started the last 198 football games he has played. The others reporting to training camps soon include safety Matt Johnson (Dallas Cowboys), cornerback Taiwan Jones (Oakland Raiders), cornerback Isaiah Trufant (New York Jets) and rookie wide receivers Brandon Kaufman (Buffalo Bills) and Greg Herd (Seattle Seahawks).
In addition, wide receiver Nicholas Edwards had a tryout with the New York Jets on Monday (July 22), and tight end Nathan Overbay has reportedly had recent interactions with the Houston Texans.
Linebacker J.C. Sherritt (Edmonton Eskimos) leads EWU’s contingent in the CFL, where he plays on the same team as hard-luck quarterback Matt Nichols. Defensive end Greg Peach (Hamilton Tiger-Cats), defensive back Ryan Phillips (British Columbia Lions), quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (Calgary Stampeders) and linebacker Shea Emry (Montreal Alouettes) are the others currently in the midst of the CFL regular season.
In addition, Erik Meyer has passed for a franchise record 107 touchdowns in 17 games in leading the Spokane Shock to a home playoff berth. After ending the regular season this weekend, his team will open the playoffs at home on Aug. 1. Edwards is also currently on the Shock roster but has yet to play.
Meyer, Sherritt, Peach and Mitchell are all recent winners of top honors in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision as awarded by The Sports Network. Meyer (2005) and Mitchell (2011) won the Walter Payton Award given to the top player in FCS, and Peach (2008) and Sherritt (2010) have won the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player.
Below are a couple of notes on some of Eastern’s current professional players. Complete bios on the pros – present and past – are available at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-footbl/Eagles_In_The_Pros
- Since Michael Roos became an offensive lineman as a sophomore at Eastern Washington University in 2002, he has started every football game he has played from 2002-12 as a collegian or professional – a streak that has now reached 198 games. He started 190 of a possible 190 games until an appendicitis attack and subsequent surgery ended that streak in October 2012. He ended the 2012 season with eight starts, giving him a personal streak of 198-straight starts entering the 2013 season. Besides 35 EWU starts to end his collegiate career, he has started 33 preseason NFL Games (8 seasons, 2005-12), 127 regular season NFL Games (8 seasons, 2005-12), 2 NFL Playoff Games (2007 & 2008) and 1 NFL Pro Bowl Game (February 2009).
- Expected to play significantly as a rookie in 2012, Matt Johnson was sidelined the entire year because of nagging hamstring and back injuries. He returned for off-season organized team activities (OTAs) camps, and has been penciled in as the starting free safety for the Cowboys entering the 2013 season.
- Nicknamed the “Gunslinger” dating back to his high school playing days, Bo Levi Mitchell earned a spot on Calgary’s roster in 2012. He picked up where he left off, leading the Stampeders to an enormous rally on July 20, 2013, as Calgary stormed back from a 24-point deficit for a 38-27 victory over the Montreal Alouettes. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 49 yards and two TD, plus had a 26-yard run. Used in short-yardage situations, he had seven carries for 35 yards through the first four games of the 2013 season.
- Taiwan Jones was moved to cornerback by the Raiders in February 2013 after seeing minimal action as a running back in his first two years in the NFL. In his pro career, Jones has played in 24 games, rushed 22 times for 94 yards, caught four passes for 36 yards and returned 10 kickoffs for 187 yards. However, he also had 12 tackles on special teams in 2011 and another seven as a rookie, and played as a cornerback as a freshman at EWU.
- Just two years into his professional career, J.C. Sherritt already owns the CFL single season tackles record and a league MVP honor. In 2012 he was selected as the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and was also named a Western Division All-Star and CFL All-Star. In 17 games at middle linebacker, Sherritt racked up a CFL record 130 defensive tackles. He started the 2013 season where he left off, recording 27 defensive tackles, two special teams tackles and one sack to rank third in the CFL through the first four games of the season (he led after three games with 24).
- After recovering from a gruesome dislocated ankle injury at the end of the 2012 season, Matt Nichols had apparently wrapped up the starting quarterback position at Edmonton as the 2013 campaign began. But he suffered a torn ACL knee injury as a preseason starter on June 14, 2013, and was lost for the season.
- Through the first 17 games of the season, Erik Meyer had 107 passing touchdowns to set a new Spokane Shock franchise single season record. He helped lead the Shock to a 13-4 record and a playoff berth, while completing 69 percent of his passes for 4,417 yards (259.8 per game) and just nine interceptions. He began the 2013 season by attempting his first 193 passes without an interception, with a remarkable 40 touchdowns and 5-0 record in that span. In a 66-43 victory over Iowa on April 5, 2013, he completed 24-of-34 passes for 330 yards and nine TD. He played in only three games in the 2012 season before a concussion ended his season.
- In his first eight years with the B.C. Lions (2005-12), Ryan Phillips did not miss a game (144 regular season games and 12 playoff games) and has started every one of those games. His active games-played streak of 144 was the longest such run in the CFL heading into the 2013 campaign (he has played in all four games thus far in 2013). In the first eight years of his CFL career, he has regular season career totals of 35 interceptions (four touchdowns), 352 tackles (22 on special teams) and 42 passes broken up. His 31 career interceptions rank fourth in franchise history, and his 628 career return yards ranks second all-time at B.C.