Sunday, July 31, 2011

The NFL Adds More Tints of Orange

By Darius Joshua

Photo Courtesy of Jason Rostkowski
The phrase ‘Back to Football’ has been on NFL Network all week. That phrase means a lot to five orange players who went undrafted in April. Former SU players Mike Holmes, Derrell Smith, Ryan Bartholomew, Andrew Lewis and Da’Mon Merkerson signed contracts with the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.

They joined former Orange players Doug Hogue and Delone Carter in the NFL. Hogue was drafted to the Detroit Lions and Carter was drafted to the Indianapolis Colts.

The terms and lengths of contracts for Smith and Bartholomew have not been reported yet. Carter and Hogue have come to agreements with their teams on four-year contracts. The terms of their contracts haven't been disclosed yet.

Mike Holmes proved himself for the Orange during the 2010 season. As a punt returner, he averaged over 10 yards per attempt and on defense he was no slouch either. His 271 career tackles puts him fifth in ‘Cuse history for most tackles by a defensive back.

The 2010 defensive captain Smith made his mark while at SU as well. He had 114 tackles last season. He is ranked 10th in the SU record books for his career 24.5 tackles for a loss.

Bartholomew, a Maryland native, was part of the 2010 offensive line that opened the holes for Carter on his way to 1,260 yards. That same O-line was second in the Big East for converting on chances in the Red Zone.

Lewis finished his career with 61 tackles, 28 of them coming in his senior season. Merkerson lead the team in interceptions last year and finished his career with 63 tackles, 42 of which were solo after making the switch to DB in 2009.

Now that Carter signed his contract, there are seven players in the NFL from last years Syracuse football team.

Can Rob Long make it eight?

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