Sept. 10, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - UCF will be very well represented, as usual, in the National Football League when the season opens tonight with 2008 first-team All-American Joe Burnett and his Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Tennessee Titans. A year ago a C-USA high 13 Knights were on opening day active rosters. This year that number has swelled to 15 while a pair of Knights are also on NFL practice squads, a breath away from playing in the league.
The New York Giants' southeast scout Joe Collins has obviously done his homework in Orlando because the Giants not only have a pair of Knight alumni on their active roster in Leger Douzable and Darcy Johnson, but Sha'reff Rashad is on the storied franchise's practice squad. A fourth Knight, corner back Travoni Johnson was cut very late in training camp.
Two NFC North teams have two Knights apiece as well. Detroit's roster this fall includes two of UCF's all-time greats in three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper and 2007 All-American tailback Kevin Smith. Meanwhile, Green Bay is home of both Atari Bigby and Josh Sitton. A fifth UCF graduate, tight end Michael Gaines, will also suit up in the NFC North this season in the famous colors of the Chicago Bears.
Another NFL franchise with multiple Knights is Denver as the Broncos' roster includes both 2008 All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall and place kicker Matt Prater.
Perhaps UCF's most decorated NFL alumnus with a pair of Super Bowl rings is Philadelphia Eagle Asante Samuel who begins his second year with that franchise after signing one of the league's richest free agent deals for a cornerback last year.
Closer to home for UCF fans, wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker is back for another year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Additionally, Cornerback Travis Fisher is on Seattle's active roster, Cornell Green has become a fixture on the Oakland Raiders' offensive line and Rashad Jeanty is back for another season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Three-time All-Conference USA left tackle Patrick Brown is on the New England Patriots' practice squad after being one of the Carolina Panthers' final cuts of training camp.
There are plenty of reasons for Knights fans to spend Sundays watching football in addition to watching the current team in action on Saturdays and several future NFL players. For 2009 UCF football ticket information, call 407-823-1000 or logon to UCFAthletics.com.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.