Just two months removed from Syracuse alum Tom Coughlin's second Super Bowl victory with the New York Giants, other former Orange student-athletes are making headlines in the NFL. Four SU alums have inked deals with new teams, while Jameel McClain signed a three-year contract to remain with the Baltimore Ravens.
McClain, who originally signed with Baltimore as a rookie free agent in 2008, has never missed a regular season game for the Ravens, playing in 64 consecutive contests. Last season, he was second on the team with 81 tackles, and also had two fumble recoveries, one which was returned for a touchdown.
"We are pleased this worked out for us," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "It has been our hope to bring [McClain] back, even when he became a free agent."
The New England Patriots wasted no time in acquiring three players with Syracuse roots, signing Will Allen, Tony Fiammetta and Steve Gregory. Allen, who signed a one-year deal on March 21, is a 10-year veteran who spent the past six seasons with Miami. He entered the NFL as the 22nd overall pick of the New York Giants in 2001, and has played in 140 career games with 532 total tackles, 15 interceptions, seven forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.
Fiammetta was signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 30 after spending last season with the Dallas Cowboys. In three NFL seasons, Fiammetta has played in 34 games with 17 starts, and has 11 rushing attempts for 26 yards and eight receptions for 73 yards.
Gregory signed a three-year contract with New England on March 16 through the 2014 season. Gregory previously played six seasons in San Diego, and played in 15 games last season totaling a career-high 67 tackles and one interception that was returned 26-yards for a touchdown.
Quinn Ojinnaka will return to St. Louis during the 2012 season, signing a one-year deal with the Rams on March 26. Ojinnaka spent training camp in St. Louis last season before being released and signed by Indianapolis, where he played in nine games, including three starts.
In total, 16 former Syracuse football players are currently on 10 NFL rosters, with the potential for growth during the 2012 NFL Draft on April 26-28.
Will Allen – New England Patriots
Ryan Bartholomew – Arizona Cardinals
Curtis Brinkley – San Diego Chargers
Delone Carter – Indianapolis Colts
Ryan Durand – Tennessee Titans
Tony Fiammetta – New England Patriots
Dwight Freeney – Indianapolis Colts
Steve Gregory – New England Patriots
Doug Hogue – Detroit Lions
Mike Holmes – Indianapolis Colts
Arthur Jones – Baltimore Ravens
Olindo Mare – Carolina Panthers
Jameel McClain – Baltimore Ravens
Quinn Ojinnaka – St. Louis Rams
Anthony Smith – Tennessee Titans (declared free agent on March 13)
Derrell Smith – Houston Texans