Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on James Ihedigbo and how success has followed him throughout his four-year NFL career. In addition to playing in back-to-back Super Bowls with different teams, Ihedigbo has been a member of four AFC Championship teams.
David Anderson of the Baltimore Sun has a profile of James Ihedigbo's mother, Rose, who talks about her son's path to the NFL and his second straight Super Bowl. Rose and her late husband, Apollos, came to the United States from Nigeria in 1979. James grew up in Amherst playing at Amherst Regional High School before coming to UMass. Rose will soon be publishing a book called "Sandals in the Snow" which describes their life and the path their family took.
James Ihedigbo of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after the Indianapolis Colts missed a field goal attempt during the AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 6. His mother, Rose, who lives in Abingdon says her son exemplifies the values she and his father instilled in him, the values of hard work, perseverance and faith in God.(Patrick Smith/Getty Images, Getty Images / January 5, 2013)
In a photo gallery by the Associated Press which is featured on Yahoo! Sports, James Ihedigbo is shown filming Media Day as the Baltimore Ravens are interviewed prior to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo shoots a video as safety Bernard Pollard, right, looks over his shoulder during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
UMass alum and Boston Herald sportswriter Jeff Howe has a piece on local connections in this year's NFL Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Included in his piece are mentions of UMass alums James Ihedigbo and Clarence Brooks.
Ihedigbo is making his second straight Super Bowl appearance albeit with a different team after helping the Patriots reach the title game last year.
Brooks played football at UMass from 1970-72 and was an assistant coach in the mid-70's for the Minutemen. He is now the Ravens' defensive line coach.
David Driver of the Springfield Republican has a feature story on James Ihedigbo and his return to a second consecutive Super Bowl. Last season, Ihedigbo played in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots before falling to the New York Giants and fellow UMass alum Victor Cruz.
Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun has a story on how Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl veterans, including UMass' James Ihedigbo, have shared their experiences with teammates over the last week. Ihedigbo is only one of four players on the 54-man roster to have played in a Super Bowl and the only current Raven to have played in the big game last year.
On April 27 at 7 PM, James Ihedigbo will host a charity fundraiser at Lit Mezze Lounge in Amherst. Lit will be hosting a meet & greet with James and other NFL players from 7pm - 10pm. At 10pm the party portion of the night will begin. There will be items such as signed jerseys from the players, up for silent auction throughout the night for those who are interested in bidding.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has a feature today on how the success of James Ihedigbo and Victor Cruz has helped recruiting for Charley Molnar and the UMass football program.
Charley Molnar hasn't spent much time in the football offices at the University of Massachusetts since he became head coach in December.
With the program moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision next season and joining the Mid-American Conference, Molnar has been on the road recruiting. But he did find time to do a little interior decorating.
Hang a left when you walk through the doors, and there on the wall are super-sized photographs of Patriots defensive back James Ihedigbo and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.
The display is a reminder to the current players and recruits visiting campus that the Minutemen have two players in the Super Bowl.
"I want every player who comes through our program to know they can do great things, just like Victor and James did,'' Molnar said. "They were on the same practice fields and in the same weight room and look where they are now.''
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on how the success James Ihedigbo and Victor Cruz are having in the NFL has served as an inspiration and a blueprint to pro-football hopefuls Julian Talley and Tyler Holmes. Talley and Holmes are currently in Florida working out to prepare for various NFL scouting combines.
No matter if you are a Giants fan or a Patriot fan, if you are a UMass fan, then this year's Super Bowl will be a win for you. Congratulations to Victor Cruz and James Ihedigbo who will both be playing in the title game.
UMass alum James Ihedigbo will be playing in his third career AFC Championship Game after he helped the New England Patriots defeat the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Ihedigbo made two appearances in the AFC title game with the New York Jets prior to joining the Patriots.
CBS Boston (WBZ) has a feature story on former Minuteman and current New England Patriot James Ihedigbo that focuses on his life growing up and his HOPE Foundation which helps students in Africa gain a college education in the United States.
UMass alum Mike Reiss has a profile of James Ihedigbo up on ESPNBoston.com. Included in the Q&A session is Ihedigbo recounting some of his favorite memories while at UMass including the 2006 win over Montana in the NCAA Playoffs in 2006.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com has a Q&A session with James Ihedigbo as the New England Patriots head to the New York Jets on Sunday. Ihedigbo started his NFL career with the Jets and will face fellow Minuteman Vladimir Ducasse his former teammate in New York.
Victor Cruz was center stage again for the New York Giants in their 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The former UMass wide receiver led the Giants with eight receptions for 161 yards, including a juggling one-handed 68-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Cruz was also involved in a pair of late turnovers by the Giants. All of that leads to lots of Cruz headlines today:
James Ighedibo made the first start of his career at safety for the New England Patriots, helping lead them to victory over his former team, the New York Jets, 30-20. The Amherst Regional High and UMass alum played the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, so Sunday's first start took on extra meaning. Ighedibo finished with six tackles on four solos and two assists.
Former University of Massachusetts and Amherst Regional standout James Ihedigbo made the New England Patriots final roster as the Patriots cut two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather to trim their roster to the limit of 53 on Saturday.
Ihedigbo was one of five Minutemen to survive cutdown day. Victor Cruz, who is expected to see regular playing time in the New York Giants wide receiver rotation after missing most of last year with an injury, made the roster out of camp for the second straight season. Jeromy Miles, who started last year on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad before being elevated during the season, made the 53-man roster out of camp this year.
Jeremy Cain starts his sixth NFL season and his third with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's primarily a long snapper.
Vlad Ducasse begins his second season as a reserve guard for the Jets.
Even when James Ihedigbo didn't have a job he always had HOPE. Because of that, so do a lot of struggling kids from Africa who want the same thing he hopes to find in New England -- a chance to prosper.
Not a week goes by, it seems, that the excesses of big-time sports aren't in the headlines -- greedy owners, amoral and sometimes immoral players, cheating, law breaking, rude behavior, slovenly disregard for their blessings and their talents. It happens so often there are websites that keep track of how many days it's been since a professional athlete was last arrested, a sad reality that can blind us to other things.
Ihedigbo, the newly signed safety and special teams maven formerly of the hated Jets, is a shining example of those other things. Although obsessively dedicated to his trade -- which is the sledge hammer side of football -- he is a guy who long ago was taught to see a world exists beyond the end zone, a world where much can be done if one man is willing to try.
It was announced last night that James Ihedigbo has signed with the New England Patriots after playing three seasons for the New York Jets. That places two former UMass players on the Pats current roster as Chris Koepplin has been handling the kick-off duties this preseason for New England.
The Hampshire Daily Gazette and the Springfield Republican report this morning that an AP source with knowledge of the situation says that former UMass safety James Ihedigbo will not be resigning with the New York Jets. The Amherst product has been with Gang Green since 2007, but will be looking for a new team for 2011.
Ihedigbo led the Jets with 27 special teams tackles in 2010.
New York Jets GM and UMass alum Mike Tannenbaum was on Ruocco and Lundberg on ESPN Radio 1050 in New York on Tuesday talking about Jets training camp and several player personnel topics. Among those, Tannenbaum pointed out former UMass lineman Vladimir Ducasse as someone that could surprise everyone this season and also spoke about the contract situation with former Minuteman and free agent safety James Ihedigbo. Follow the link above and go to the 8:00 mark for Ducasse and 8:45 for Ihedigbo.
ESPN.com reports that former Minuteman and New York Jet James Ihedigbo remains an unsigned free agent.
NBC New York speculates that money the Jets saved by losing out on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha not only allowed them to resign Antonio Cromartie, but could allow them to resign players such as Ihedigbo.
The Wall Street Journal has a story on the company Player Protect that provides security and transportation services for professional athletes when they are attending social events.
Jets safety James Ihedigbo said ceding control has never been an issue. The Jets signed with Player Protect this past September, and Ihedigbo said he has used the service both as part of a large group of teammates going out after a game, and on his own. He has never been in a situation where his assigned officer indicated he was unsafe, but if he was, he said, "I wouldn't even hesitate to listen. It's what they're there for. Their ears can pick up things mine can't."
The goal of the company is to not only keep the player physically safe but also for the agents to keep the player informed of anything that might come up during the event which could put him in harm.
New York Jets saftey and former UMass All-American James Ihedigbo was a guest on the B&C Morning Show in New York yesterday. In the interview, Ihedigbo talked about how players are dealing with the current lockout situation, his future with the Jets and the leadership of Mark Sanchez.
Another story on James Ihedigbo out of Newsday.com today. This one looks at his contract status as a restricted free agent under the terms of the old collective bargaining agreement. Because of the NFL lockout many players similar to Ihedigbo are uncertain as to what the future will hold.
James Ihedigbo can't wait for "Beast Mode" time again.
The Jets' safety is spending the offseason much like the rest of his teammates, training without coaches' supervision as they wait for the lockout to be lifted. Ihedigbo is also waiting for the second coming of "Beast Mode," the term he uses to describe the mentality of the Jets' top-notch secondary in 2010.
"Our mentality is that we hit you because in this game, it is you hit them or they're going to hit you," Ihedigbo told Metro. "That's what 'Beast Mode' is and I know that whoever is back there with me in the secondary, that guy has my back and I've got his back."
On the NFL's website, this picture of James Ihedigbo is one of 13 submission's from various photographer's for the 43rd Annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest. It was shot be Al Pereira of the New York Jets.
You hear stories all the time about players hoping to get that special "Call from the Hall," and trust me it's just as exciting for us photographers when it happens. Having your photograph singled out for recognition among the galleries of great NFL pictures really is something else. Truth be told, it is an honor just to be able to toss a few shots in with the other folks who cover the NFL. I really do feel I am swimming with the big fish, each and every week. I was happy to see that my photo of James Ihedigbo preparing to go out on the field was one that caught people's fancy. "Dig," as he is known, is both serene and intense and I feel like this image captures that. He's shown getting himself in the right frame of mind to play, and his quiet determination is something I try to call up every week in covering my beloved Jets. - Al Pereira
UMass alums and football stars Victor Cruz and James Ihedigbo will be guest stars on the Rachael Ray Show on Wednesday morning. The duo are part of a segment on the show called, "Human Lab." Here's the promo from the show's website: Rachael Ray Show, May 4, 2011.
Can what you cook up help you hook up? It's a new twist on TV dating when sexy star Taye Diggs plays matchmaker to two bachelors who are trying to win a woman's heart with their food! Then, sparks will fly in your house with Rach's date-night dinner, and it's a beefed up "Human Lab" with NFL stars testing grilling gadgets.
UMass alums with the New York Jets including safety James Ihedigbo, offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, general manager Mike Tannebaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen saw their football season end on Sunday with a 24-19 loss to the Steelers. Here are a few stories with mentions of Ihedigbo, who received much TV time. Ducasse was also shown on the sidelines during the game.
The New York Jets and their UMass alums are off to the AFC Championship game after the green and white pulled off the 28-21 upset win at New England. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, assistant GM Scott Cohen along with players James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse all earned degrees from UMass. Ihedigbo served as a team captain for the game in carrying out a No. 90 Dennis Byrd jersey. Coach Rex Ryan had invited former defensive end Byrd to address the players at the team hotel Saturday night to convey to them the urgency of seizing the opportunity that was ahead of them.
Earlier this week, I caught up with an old friend, James Ihedigbo. You may know James as the hard hitting safety and special teams ace from the Jets; I know him best from our battles on the intramural courts at UMass. He didn't seem overly interested in reliving the time my squad beat him and his football teammates. Apparently he has more important things on his mind...whatever.
The Newark Star-Ledger has a feature story on how UMass has so many connections with the New York Jets.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen are both graduates of UMass. In recent years, the addition of guard Vladimir Ducasse and safety James Ihedigbo, also Minutemen, further advanced a pipeline that seems to grow by the year.
Here is a story on New York Jets Green & White Report about UMass alum James Ihedigbo returning to action for the team during the NFL playoffs. The Jets take on the Colts Saturday night at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.
On Tuesday, safety James Ihedigbo continued to make strides following a right knee and a high ankle sprain that has limited the player the last couple of games.
The Jets held Ihedigbo out of Sunday's regular season finale against the Bills as a precaution.
"If I needed to play, I would have been able to and could have," Ihedigbo said. "But the coaches wanted to hold me out and let me rest up and heal for the playoffs."
With the final day of the NFL regular-season here, UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse is expected to see the most playing time of his young career with the New York Jets as they take on the Buffalo Bills with a playoff spot secured. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. Fellow Jet and UMass alum James Iheidgbo is out with an injury. Here are a few stories mentioning Ducasse and his additional time on the offensive line.
Other UMass alums in action including Jeromy Miles with the Cincinnati Bengals in their final game against the Baltimore Ravens. Miles could see more time in the secondary in addition to his duties on special teams.
Also, Jeremy Cain will snap for the Jaguars against Houston in their finale at 4:15 pm. The Jags could clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Colts loss to the Texans earlier in the day.
Here's a look at UMass' alums in action in the NFL over the holiday weekend.
With the New York Jets, James Ihedigbo suffered an ankle injury in a 38-34 loss to the Chicago Bears and is expected to miss next week's game vs. the Buffalo Bills. Ihedigbo did not make a tackle in his limited action before the injury. Vladimir Ducasse dressed as a back-up lineman, but didn't play. The Jets clinched a playoff berth despite the loss as the Jaguars lost putting Gang Green into the postseason.
In the Bengals' 34-20 win over the Chargers, to end their playoff hopes, Jeromy Miles played on special teams for the Bengals, and downed a punt.
UMass' other NFL products didn't play: Victor Cruz on injured reserve with the Giants, Matt Lawrence on physically unable to perform list with the Ravens and Jeremy Horne on the practice squad with the Chiefs.
Check out UMass' alums in action in the NFL on Sunday.
• James Ihedigbo returned to action in the Jets' 22-17 huge win at the Steelers, after missing a game with a leg injury. Ihedigbo had a tackle on defense and played his usual impact role on special teams. Vladimir Ducasse dressed for the game for the Jets, but didn't play.
• In the Bengals' 19-17 win over the Browns, Jeromy Miles was in on a tackle that resulted in a forced fumble on kickoff.
• With Jaguars, in a 34-24 loss to the Colts, Jeremy Cain snapped seven times for the Jags on punts and kicks.
• UMass' other alums are not active at this time, with Matt Lawrence on the PUP list with the Ravens, Victor Cruz on the Giants' Injured Reserve. Jeremy Horne is on the Chiefs practice squad.
UMass alum and Amherst native James Ihedigbo was back in action with the New York Jets on Thursday and is expected to play in Sunday's pivotal AFC Clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Read about Ihedigbo in various media outlets.
UMass alum and Jets fourth-year player James Ihedigbo is expected to play a larger role with the team in Monday night's game against the Patriots on ESPN. Jets veteran safety Jim Leonhard suffered a broken leg on Friday. Looking for more help from the special teams demon, Rex Ryan could turn to Ihedigbo in the secondary. Here are various stories that mention the Amherst native.
This Thanksgiving weekend, read this feature in the Newark Star-Ledger on UMass alum James Ihedigbo and his contributions to the Jets on the field and off the field in his heritage land of Africa.
In the Jets' defensive backfield, James Ihedigbo is known as the "hype man."
"He's like Lil Jon," secondary coach Dennis Thurman said, referencing the crunk rapper known for getting crowds fired up. "He's that guy for us."
The fourth-year safety has a contagious energy on game days, delivering inspirational speeches and inciting his teammates in a way that makes his coaches grin. He thrives on the hunt for big plays, and celebrates with his trademark digging act afterward, as he did on a key punt recovery against the Bengals on Thanksgiving night.
Ihedigbo's passion is unmistakable, but just as important has been learning how to harness it: in football, as a core special-teams player and versatile defensive sub, and in life, as he works to carry on his late father's commitment to educational opportunities, particularly for those of African descent.
"It comes with maturity," Ihedigbo said. "Understanding the player I need to be on the field, and who I am off the field."
If you were watching the Jets-Bengals game on Thanksgiving night, you saw a pair of UMass grads play with James Ihedigbo making several key plays in the Jets' 26-10 win on the NFL Network. Ihedigbo recovered a muffed punt that led to the winning touchdown. He also had a big block on an 89-yard kickoff return by Brad Smith. Ihedigbo also had a pressure on Carson Palmer.
With the Bengals in his NFL debut, Jeromy Miles made two tackles in the third quarter on special teams.
"Thank God I had the opportunity to make a big play and kind of contribute," Ihedigbo said after the Jets' 26-10 win over the Bengals last night at New Meadowlands Stadium. "Then we get another touchdown out of it. Everything happens for a reason."
Here's your weekly look at UMass' pros in football:
In the NFL
• The Jets won their third game in a row in dramatic last-second fashion, beating the Texans 30-27. James Ihedigbo had four tackles for the Jets on defense and special teams. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive again.
With the Jaguars, Jeremy Cain snapped six times in a 24-20 win over Cleveland.
Matt Lawrence continues to be on the physically unable to perform list with the Ravens. Victor Cruz is on injured reserve with the Giants. Jeremy Horne is on the practice squad with the Chiefs as is Jeromy Miles with the Bengals.
In the CFL
Brandon London will have a chance to win the Grey Cup next weekend with the Montreal Alouettes, as they beat the Toronto Argos 48-17 in the Eastern Final on Sunday. London didn't play in the win, as he's injured.
In The UFL
Marcel Shipp will have a chance to win the UFL title next weekend, on Saturday at 11 a.m. He played close to his college home in Hartford with the Las Vegas Locos, in a 27-14.
Shipp had just 12 yards on 11 carries for the Locos.
NY Jets safety, James Ihedigbo, phones into the Boomer & Carton show to preview this Sunday's Jets-Texans showdown on WFAN's Boomer & Carton. Ihedigbo graduated from UMass after the 2006 football season and is an Amherst native.
Matt Lawrence remains on PUP with the Ravens, who lost to the Falcons, 26-21. Victor Cruz' Giants lost to Cowboys, 33-20 in Jason Garrett's debut as Cowboys head coach.
Jeremy Horne remains on the practice squad with the Kansas City Chiefs and Jeromy Miles on the PS with the Cincinnati Bengals.
IN THE CFL:
In the CFL Western Semifinals, the BC Lions dropped a 41-38 OT game to Saskatchewan. UMass' Keron Williams had a huge game with three sacks and four tackles for BC and Anton McKenzie also made four tackles but BC's season ended.
In the CFL Eastern Semifinals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with Shannon James lost to the Toronto Argos 16-13. James didn't make a play and finishes with the season with 11 solo tackles.
UMass' other CFL player Brandon London, plays for Montreal, which had a bye into the Eastern Final as the Alouettes will play Toronto next weekend.
Here's an update on UMass alums in the pro football ranks.
In The NFL:
With the Mew York Jets, James Ihedigbo played a bunch on defense and special teams with one tackle and called a key timeout for the Jets in their comeback 23-20 OT win over the Detroit Lions. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive.
New York Giants WR Victor Cruz took time out while on injured reserve to come to UMass' win over Maine on Saturday at McGuirk Stadium.
Brandon London made his CFL debut with the Montreal Alouettes as his team suffered a 30-4 loss to the Toronto Argos. London didn't have a catch but made a tackle on special teams.
In The UFL:
UMass' all-time rushing leaders matched up as the Sacramento Mountain Lions beat the Las Vegas Locos, 27-24. Las Vegas clinched a berth in the UFL Championship in last week's win at Omaha, but Sacramento dominated play throughout the opening half. Marcel Shipp had four carries for 10 yards and a catch for nine yards. Steve Baylark had a carry for Sacramento.
Here's a recap of UMass products in action in pro football this past weekend:
In the NFL:
In the New York Jets huge comeback win over the Denver Broncos, 24-20, James Ihedigbo played defense and on special teams. Vladimir Ducasse was not active, but got plenty of TV on the sidelines.
In the Kansas City Chiefs' 35-31 loss to the Houston Texans in a thriller, Jeremy Horne played on special teams and made the first tackle of the second half on the opening kickoff. He also had one pass thrown his way, that was incomplete.
On Monday night football, Jeremy Cain snapped on all punts and kicks for the Jaguars in their loss to the Tenneesse Titans.
If you missed it Victor Cruz was played on injured reserve by the Giants and Matt Lawrence remains on physically unable to perform for the Ravens.
UMass' top career rushers faced off and Marcel Shipp's Las Vegas Locos got the best of Steve Baylark's Sacramento Mountain Cats, 26-3. Shipp scored the game's only offensive touchdown on a five-yard run up the middle in the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 carries for 69 yards. Baylark has his best game to date with 46 yards on four carries including a long of 29 yards.
2003 UMass football All-American Jeremy Cain and his Jacksonville Jaguars picked up a 36-26 winover the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The NFL long snapper, snapped eight times on five Josh Scobee field goals and three extra points. The Jags are now 3-2 overall.
In other NFL action, UMass' Victor Cruz and Jeremy Horne were both in active for the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.
On Monday night, UMass grads James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse will be in the action with the New York Jets against the Minnesota Vikings on ESPN.
Week 5 of the NFL season is sure to be an exciting one. Most fans in New England will have a chance to watch a pair of 2009 UMass wide receivers in the 1 p.m., games on Sunday. On CBS, the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs (with Jeremy Horne) take on the Indianapolis Colts. On FOX, the New York Giants (with Victor Cruz) battle the Houston Texans.
Other UMass alums will be in action as the Jacksonville Jaguars with long snapper Jeremy Cain play the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m.
On Monday night, the Jets duo of UMass alums James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse, will be in action against the Minnesota Vikings on ESPN.
The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. Matt Lawrence continues to be on the PUP list for the Ravens. Alum and Sunday's feature item in the Springfield Republican Clarence Brooks coaches for Baltimore as well.
In the Chiefs' 16-14 win over the Browns, WR Jeremy Horne made hi on-field NFL debut in No. 11 and made a tackle on special teams in the fourth quarter.
DB James Ihedigbo played great on special teams in the New York Jets' 28-14 win over the Patriots. OL Vladimir Ducasse was inactive for the second week in a row.
LS Jeremy Cain snapped three times all on kicks in the Jaguars' 38-13 loss to the Chargers. Interestingly, the Jaguars never punted in the game as they scored, fumbled, were intercepted or failed on a fourth down conversion.
With the Giants, in their game against the Colts, WR Victor Cruz is active in place of WR Ramses Barden, who wasn't much of a factor in Week 1 and had a ball bounce off his hands for an interception.
In the CFL, the BC Lions beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-31 as a trio of UMass alums saw action. For BC, LB Anton McKenzie racked up five tackles and DE Keron Williams made three tackles. LB Shannon James didn't have a tackle for Hamilton.
In the UFL, the Sacramento Mountain Lions lost to the Hartford Colonials 27-10. TB Steve Baylark didn't have a carry for the Mountain Lions.
The Las Vegas Locos lost to the Florida Tuskers 27-20. RB Marcel Shipp had 13 carries for 48 yards for the Locos.
Many UMass football alums will have their NFL teams in action tonight as part of Monday Night Football's doubleheader on ESPN.
The opener between the Jets and Ravens will have three players that wore the maroon and white along with several other alums in the front office and on the sidelines. With the Jets: No. 44 James Ihedigbo will play in the secondary and on special teams. No. 62 Vladimir Ducasse was the Jets second-round NFL Draft pick this past April. He will play as a back-up on the offensive line. Along with Ihedigbo and Ducasse, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and several members of the Jets front office graduated from UMass.
With the Ravens No. 32 Matt Lawrence will not play as he is sidelined with a knee injury. UMass alum and former Redman football player Clarence Brooks continues as an assistant coach with the Ravens.
In the CAA, Maine hosts Albany at 7 p.m.; Delaware hosts West Chester at 7 p.m.; Rhode Island plays at Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. and Towson plays at Indiana at 7:30 p.m.
We will have updates here on JTAM throughout the night.
Three former UMass football players will be in action tonight in NFL preseason games as Jeremy Horne and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:00 p.m. The Arrowhead Addict Chiefs' blog lists Horne in its five players to watch.
Those of you who watched Hard Knocks this week on HBO saw "Big Vlad"...UMass' own Vladimir Ducasse get some attention in the Rookie Show. The New York Post mentions the portion of the episode:
When defensive coordinator Mike Pettine tells the team about the
upcoming King Ugly contest at the Rookie Show: "Worst-looking guy
doesn't always win. So that's why I think Vlad [Ducasse] has a chance
to finish second or third."
Jim Leonhard announces the winner of the King Ugly contest:
"Surprisingly, third place . . . thought he was a leader the whole time
. . . goes by many names . . . Big Vlad." Applause. "In a surprising
twist -- first time ever -- second place . . . Big Vlad!" Laughter.
Ducasse and fellow former Minuteman James Ihedigbo will take on the Redskins tonight as the New York Jets will face Washington tonight in new Meadowlands Stadium.
UMass product Jeremy Horne caught the Kansas City Chiefs' first touchdown of the night in their 20-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. He hauled in a 6-yard pass from Matt Cassel in the first quarter.
In the Giants' 24-17 loss to the Steelers, Victor Cruz had two catches for 30 yards including a 20-yard grab. He also returned punts for the Giants. UMass' Brandon London didn't have a catch.
With the Jets, in a 9-3 win, James Ihedigbo had two tackles while Vladimir Ducasse played left guard for much of the second, third and fourth quarters against the Carolina Panthers.
In a game delayed by severe lightning, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Miami Dolphins 27-26. Jeremy Cain snapped seven times on punts and kicks.
Check out Jeff Thomas' story on UMass' connections with the NFL in the Springfield Republican. It includes the eight UMass alums on NFL rosters in preseason along with a mention of some current assistant coaches that played at UMass. Jeremy Cain is joined in Jacksonville by a pair of former UMass captains in Joe Cullen and Ben Albert. Cullen is the defensive line coach and Albert his assistant.
UMass product Victor Cruz had an amazing debut game with the New York Giants. His first catch came on a one-handed 64-yard TD grab from Jim Sorgi late in the third quarter. After a nice 21 yard grab showing his great hands once again, Cruz hauled in a 34-yarder from Sorgi to give the Giants a 24-16 lead in the fourth quarter. Cruz had 145 yards on his six catches for his hometown team in the first-ever game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Cruz was so popular that LeBron James tweeted @KingJames about Victor Cruz and "Victor Cruz" was listed among the top "trending items" on Twitter.
James wrote: KingJames - Victor Cruz going nuts on the Jets tonight on #MNF. Undrafted rookie from UMass. He's gonna have a job this year for sure
In New York and its surrounding metro area, the game is a preseason
meeting between the region's two National Football League teams in a new
stadium. But in western Massachusetts, tonight's 8 p.m. game between
the Jets and Giants in the Meadowlands has added meaning.
game, which will air on ESPN, will feature three former University of
Massachusetts football players on the field as James Ihedigbo and
Vladimir Ducasse of the Jets will battle Victor Cruz, who is competing
for a spot on the Giants.
Check out a great new Photo Gallery of former UMass football players in the NFL. The gallery includes all eight UMass players in NFL camps this summer: Jeremy Cain (Jaguars), Victor Cruz (Giants), Vladimir Ducasse (Jets), Jeremy Horne (Chiefs), James Ihedigbo (Jets), Matt Lawrence (Ravens), Brandon London (Steelers) and Jeromy Miles (Bengals).
The New York Times has a preview of the New York Jets start of training camp. Former UMass All-Americans Vladimir Ducasse and James Ihedigbo will be key players in 2010. The Times mentions both the "330-pound straight-line mauler" and that Gang Green will look to "chiseled James Ihedigbo."
Also, the Bleacher Report mentions Ducasse as one of the team's breakout players. BR cites: What happens when your team releases nine-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca and drafts Vladimir Ducasse, a second-round pick from UMass? As coach Rex Ryan told the New York media, "We're getting better."