Jan. 22, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - With 15 players suiting up for various teams in the National Football League, UCF led all other Conference USA schools in 2008. Today, we continue our look at the Knights in the NFL with an update on safety Atari Bigby.
Now finishing his fourth year in the NFL, Bigby initially signed with Miami Dolphins in 2005 as an undrafted free agent. He was cut by the Dolphins in July and shortly thereafter signed with the New York Jets. He was one of the final cuts by the Jets and signed on with Green Bay for the Packers' practice squad. He has been a fixture there since. Bigby made his NFL debut later that season in a game against the rival Chicago Bears on Christmas Day.
The 2006 season saw Bigby appear in five games for the Packers, mainly on special teams. In 2007 came Bigby's big opportunity and he was ready. With a very impressive preseason, Bigby earned a starting role in all 16 games for Green Bay and played a team-best 94.9-percent of all defensive snaps. Bigby was third on the Packers with 121 tackles and led the squad with five interceptions and 13 passes defended. It was the most tackles by a Packer defensive back since Mark Murphy had 128 in 1990 and, along the way, Bigby earned NFC Defensive Player of the Month accolades for December. With Bigby's help in the secondary, Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
Bigby battled through injuries during the 2008 season which limited him to just seven games for the Packers, six of them starts. Bigby had an interception in the season-opening Monday Night Football win over Minnesota and made 21 tackles on the season.
Tomorrow we look at former UCF tailback Kevin Smith of the Detroit Lions.