Friday, July 25, 2008

Heading into camp | by Pat

Yet another sign that football is just around the corner, NFL teams are now reporting for the start of training camp. Here's a quick rundown of the Irish rookies and second-year players and where they stand with their current teams.

John Carlson: Carlson hasn't signed with the Seahawks yet and is now officially a hold-out. He is considered a front-runner for the starting tight end spot, but every practice he misses will make it harder to crack the starting lineup.

Trevor Laws: Laws signed with the Eagles just after the reporting deadline for rookies, but is still on the shelf for the next few days due to a foot injury.

Tom Zbikowski: Zibby signed a 3-year deal with the Ravens and now is competing with fellow rookie Haruki Nakamura for one of the few available safety spots on the team.

John Sullivan: Sully has signed a four year deal with the Vikings and will begin work as the backup center in Minnesota.

Travis Thomas: Thomas is in camp with the Browns fighting for a spot on the practice squad. A few early positive returns won't hurt his cause.

J.J. Jansen: It's possible Jansen's battle for the starting Green Bay long-snapper job might be overshadowed by the rumored Brett Favre comeback. Regardless, Jansen has an excellent shot at being the first Irish rookie to nail down a starting job.

Brady Quinn: As long as returning starter Derek Anderson keeps playing well, Brady will likely stay the backup QB in Cleveland. Despite his second-string status, the NFL is still featuring Brady in ads that promote the league.

Victor Abiamiri: Victor will start the year as a backup defensive end, but should see the field often in the Eagles D-Line rotation.

Ryan Harris: With new 1st round pick Ryan Clady expected to start at left tackle, Harris will battle last year's starting left guard Chris Kuper for the starting Broncos right tackle spot.

Derek Landri: A suprise contributor last season, there isn't much on Landri, but he should continue to see time in the Jaguar defensive tackle rotation, especially on obvious passing downs.

Mike Richardson: Back from last year's injury, Richardson will be in the mix of new free agents and rookies as the Patriots look to re-build their cornerback depth.

Dan Santucci: Santucci will stay at center for the Bengals and work to keep his second string status.

Chinedum Ndukwe: He's returned from his trip to Nigeria and now Nedu is in contention for a starting safety spot with the Bengals.

Darius Walker: Walker will have a tough time in camp as the Texans are filled with running backs and won't be able to carry all of them come the end of training camp. Rookie Steve Slaton will battle Walker, Ahman Green, Chris Brown, and Chris Taylor.

Switching sports, Jeff Samardzija has reached the Majors, a little over a year after he began his trek through the minors.

The hard-throwing right-hander from Valparaiso, Ind., got word of his first big-league promotion Thursday after the Cubs put closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana. Samardzija is expected to be in uniform for today's game against the Marlins.

The former Notre Dame football star might even start for the Cubs this weekend, though that could not be immediately confirmed.
That's certainly a huge acheivement for Samardzija as the road from Single A ball to a pro debut is rarely a quick journey.

If you find any more updates on the players listed or the more veteran ND alums like Ryan Grant still playing in the NFL, feel free to update everyone in the comment section.