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Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on former Minuteman James Ihedigbo making the New England Patriots 53-man roster along with four other Minutemen making NFL rosters. Jeremy Horne was cut, but later signed to the practice squad - the same being expected for John Griffin soon.

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.

John Eisenberg of Ravens Insider looks at the running back situation for Baltimore heading into 2011. An uncertain future for Willis McGahee could provide an opportunity for Matt Lawrence once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

+ Who backs up Rice if McGahee goes? The candidates on the roster include Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence, Curtis Steele and seventh-round pick Anthony Allen. The first three have been around for a couple of years without making inroads as ball carriers, leaving Allen as the likeliest option, at least for now. But as a locked-out rookie who hasn't gone through OTAs, he might not be able to contribute much right away. 

UMass' Matt Lawrence Connects Edsall & Maryland

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In the Howard County (Md.) Newspaper, UMass alum Matt Lawrence is the subject of a story relating Maryland football an its new coach -- Lawrence's first college coach Randy Edsall.

Before the Ravens' Matt Lawrence became an all-around back at the University of Massachusetts, he played at Connecticut from 2003-04 in his home state. His coach was Randy Edsall, who was named Maryland's coach on Monday.

Football Alums In NFL Action On Sunday

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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.

Matt Lawrence's Season Over With Ravens

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The Ravens announced that they have elected to keep running back Matt Lawrence on the team's physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, thus ending his season.

Lawrence played in eight games last season, but was sidelined by a knee injury that also forced him to miss training camp and the rest of the preseason.

Lawrence was then placed on the PUP list to begin the season. After the mandatory six-week period of inactivity ended, Lawrence participated in several of the team's practices.

The decision to not activate him from the PUP might suggest that the knee is still an issue. Another possibility is that activating Lawrence would have required the Ravens to release a player from their current roster, a scenario they might have preferred to avoid.


Carroll-County Times: RAVENS: Matt Lawrence's season is over

Update On UMass Alums In Pro Football Action

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Checking in on UMass products in the pro football ranks.

IN THE NFL

  • In the Jacksonville Jaguars' miracle win of the Houston Texans, 31-24, Jeremy Cain snapped 10 times on kicks and punts for the Jags.

  • In the New York Jets' second straight road OT win, 26-20 at Cleveland, James Ihedigbo had three tackles including a 6-yard sack on Colt McCoy. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive for the Jets.

  • 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.

    IN THE UFL

  • Steve Baylark scored a touchdown and ran for 30 yards as the Sacramento Mountain Lions crushed Omaha, 41-3.

  • The Las Vegas Locos and Marcel Shipp had a bye week.

  • Alum Matt Lawrence Back In Practice For Ravens

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    UMass alum and former all-conference back Matt Lawrence took part in his first practice with the Baltimore Ravens since being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 24 with a knee injury last season. 

    "It was good to be out there," said Lawrence, who missed the preseason and the first six weeks of the regular season while languishing on the team's physically-unable-to-perform list. "It was a pretty good pace, a pretty good workout. ... I was full-go. The coaches just told me, 'Go play ball. Do what you've been doing all these years.'"

    UMass Alumni Pro Football Update

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    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.

  • Matt Lawrence is close to returning to action with the Baltimore Ravens, as his team pulled off a 26-10 win over Miami Dolphins. Lawrence will practice for the first time Monday, coach John Harbaugh said.

  • Jeremy Cain and the Jaguars had a bye week.

    In The CFL:

  • Three UMass products saw action as the BC Lions beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 23-21. Anton McKenzie made four tackles for BC while Keron Williams didn't have any stops. Shannon James didn't have a tackle for the Ti-Cats.

  • 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.

  • The Baltimore Sun has a blog entry on the status of UMass alum and Ravens back Matt Lawrence.

    Running back Matt Lawrence said he has not ruled out returning to the field this season.

    Lawrence, who remains on the team's physically-unable-to-perform list since suffering a knee injury that forced him to injured reserve on Nov. 24, conceded that he is anxious to play football again.

    "Just by doing all of the stuff that they're asking me to do, I'm in a great program, and when I get right, I'll be right," he said. "As of right now, we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing and keep progressing."

    Harbaugh said he had no update to provide, adding, "We're thinking about it right now - whether we want to do something right now or wait until next week. But we'll be looking at him real soon just to see how he holds up in a practice-type of setting. But it could be as early as Wednesday [or] it might be as late as next week."

    Update On UMass Alums In Pro Football Action

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    Here's our weekly look at UMass products in pro football.

    NFL:

  • In the Jaguars' 35-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Jeremy Cain snapped 10 times on kicks and punts.

  • In the New York Jets 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers, James Ihedigbo made the game's opening tackle on a the Jets kickoff. He also played in some secondary packages. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive, but was visible on the sidelines.

  • UMass also has alums on practice squads: WR Jeremy Horne with the Kansas City Chiefs and DB Jeromy Miles with the Cincinnati Bengals.

  • Additionally WR Victor Cruz is on the injured reserve list with the New York Giants while RB Matt Lawrence is on the physically unable to perform list with the Baltimore Ravens.

    CFL:

  • The BC Lions picked up a 23-17 win over Saskatchewan as both UMass alums Anton McKenzie and Keron Williams each had three tackles. The Lions are making a push for the postseason.

  • With the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a 55-24 loss to Calgary, Shannon James played for his new team the Ti-Cats vs his old team, the Stamps.

  • Brandon London continues to be on the Montreal Alouettes practice squad.

    UFL:

  • All-time leading rusher Marcel Shipp scored his UFL-best fifth TD as the Las Vegas Locos beat Omaha, 24-10. Shipp had 30 rushing yards.

  • Steve Baylark didn't carry the ball for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in a 27-26 loss to Hartford.

  • UMass Connections On Monday Night Football

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    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 second game, UMass product Jeremy Horne is expected to play for the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Diego Chargers. Horne will be wearing No. 11 for the Chiefs in the 10:35 kickoff, paying as back-up receiver.

    Daily Collegian Profile On Matt Lawrence With Ravens

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    The Daily Collegian has a great story on UMass alum Matt Lawrence, who is in his second year with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

    Lawrence talked about his time at UMass and he misses about UMass.

    "I miss Antonio's and Bueno Y Sano, and Black Sheep and Pasta Y Basta, restaurant-wise. But you miss college, and you always miss the guys and try to keep in contact with them."

    UMass Alums In NFL Action Tonight; CAA Games Start

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    HUGE NIGHT IN FOOTBALL!

    Here's your rundown of UMass Alums in action in the NFL Preseason as these players hope to secure spots on rosters for the regular season:

  • Jeromy Miles and Bengals vs. Colts at 7 p.m.
  • Victor Cruz and Giants vs. Patriots at 7 p.m.
  • Brandon London and Steelers vs. Panthers at 7:30 p.m.
  • Vladimir Ducasse and James Ihedigbo with the Jets vs. Eagles at 7:30 p.m.
  • Jeremy Horne and Chiefs vs. Packers at 8 p.m.
  • Jeremy Cain and Jaguars vs. Falcons at 7:30 p.m.
  • Matt Lawrence is hurt, but his Ravens play the Rams at 8 p.m.

  • 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.

    Saturday's UMass Alums In NFL Action

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    Here's the quick rundown for Saturday's NFL gams featuring UMass products.

    Jeromy Miles looks to continue his solid play with the Cincinnati Bengals in hope of earning a roster spot as they take on the Buffalo Bills at 6:30 p.m.

    Long snapper Jeremy Cain and the Jacksonville Jaguars play at the Tampa Bay Bucs at 7 p.m.

    At 7:30 p.m., Victor Cruz and his New York Giants travel to the Baltimore Ravens to play against Matt Lawrence and his team. Lawrence is still out with a knee injury.

    Your NFL Preseason Guide To UMass Alums

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    With Week 2 of the NFL Preseason underway, here's a look at the Minutemen in action with some stories.
     
  • Jeromy Miles and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Philadelphia Eagles 22-9 on Friday night. Miles had a tackle playing in the secondary as well as special teams.

  • UMass alums match-up as the Steelers plays at the Giants on Saturday. Receivers Brandon London and Victor Cruz will be in action. Sports Illustrated's Peter King mentions London as the upstart guy Mike Tomlin is trying to keep on the roster. In addition to the ESPN New York feature on Cruz from Friday, the Associated Press has a story on Cruz and his instant success.

  • The New York Jets with James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse play at the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
  • Jeremy Cain and his Jacksonville Jaguars host the Miami Dolphins.
  • Jeremy Horne looks to improve his stock with the Kansas City Chiefs as they play Tampa Bay.
  • Matt Lawrence (knee) is still injured as his Baltimore Ravens face the Redskins in local rivalary.
  • Republican Story On UMass' NFL Connections

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    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.
    If you are looking for UMass product Matt Lawrence on ESPN's Ravens-Panthers game on Thursday night, you won't see No. 32 in purple. He is out with knee surgery.

    Photo Gallery: UMass Alums In The NFL

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    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).

    Alum Lawrence Eager To Return To Ravens

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    Running back Matt Lawrence, who started training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list due to a knee injury, was out on the practice field Wednesday carrying around a weighted football and eager to get back to playing again now that his knee is healing. "It's pretty close," Lawrence said of his knee being ready to play. "You just have to [take] precautions. I feel pretty good and it's coming along well."

    Check out the story from the Baltimore Sun.

    Update On Matt Lawrence In Ravens Camp

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    UMass alum Matt Lawrence continues to sit out at Baltimore Ravens camp with a knee injury. Here are a few stories that mention the former All-CAA star at UMass. Ravens Football News and The Examiner.

    NFL Training Camps Open This Weekend

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    Here's a look at UMass products in NFL Training Camps, which open this weekend across the U.S.
  • Baltimore Ravens: Matt Lawrence - in Westminster, Md.
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Jeromy Miles - in Georgetown, Kentucky
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Cain - in Jacksonville
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Jeremy Horne - in St, Joseph's Missouri
  • New York Jets: Vladimir Ducasse, James Ihedigbo - in Cortland, N.Y.
  • New York Giants: Victor Cruz - in Albany, N.Y.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon London - in Latrobe, Pa.
  • Despite the collegiate attitude surrounding a John Harbaugh  Ravens camp, running back Matt Lawrence knows how tough it can be as well. One of 14 players who ended up on injured reserve last year with a November knee injury, Lawrence feels he's at 100 percent. But he understands professional football is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Read comments from the former UMass back on The Press Box from Baltimore.

    Matt Lawrence Gearing Up For Ravens Camp

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    The Baltimore Ravens training gets underway this week and UMass product Matt Lawrence will be in the mix for playing time in the backfield. Check out these stories with mentions of Lawrence:  Ravens Blog, Best Baltimore Ravens Blog and WNST.

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