Sept. 9, 2010
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By Christian Edwards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The 2010 NFL season kicks off tonight with a re-match of last year's NFC Championship Game as the Minnesota Vikings travel to New Orleans to face the reigning Super Bowl champion Saints. It is an exciting time for many former UCF players in the NFL as training camp is over and the regular season begins.
Last weekend cuts were made in the NFL as teams trimmed their lineups for their opening day rosters. UCF is represented this year by 12 players on nine different NFL teams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have two former Knights on their roster in wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and defensive tackle Leger Douzable. Sims-Walker looks to have another productive season after finishing last season as the team's leading receiver with 63 receptions for 869 yards and seven touchdowns. Douzable joined the team during the 2010 training camp and looks to be in the defensive line rotation. Sims-Walker and Douzable will face the Denver Broncos on Sunday and a former Knight in placekicker Matt Prater. Prater ranked second in the NFL in 2009 in kickoff touchbacks with 28. He also connected on 30-of-35 field goals and all 32 extra point attempts.
During the 2010 offseason the Buffalo Bills signed two former Knights in offensive lineman Cornell Green and nose tackle Torell Troup. Green was signed as an unrestricted free agent and Troup was drafted by Buffalo in the second-round (41st overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Troup will see his NFL first action this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, and has a tough challenge as the Bills will try to stop UCF alum and Miami Dolphins' wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall will look to bring his physical play to Miami after four seasons with the Denver Broncos. He has recorded at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last three years.
After an appearance in the playoffs last year, the Green Bay Packers bring back two Knights in safety Atari Bigby and offensive lineman Josh Sitton. Sitton started all of last season at right guard and was the only Packer offensive lineman to start every game at the same position. Bigby will start the 2010 season on the physically unable to perform list due to ankle surgery, and will be ineligible to play the first six weeks of the season. The Packers face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and a former Knight in cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel has made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2007-09.
UCF's all-time leading rusher Kevin Smith returns to the Detroit Lions for his third season in the NFL. He is recovering from a knee injury last year and will be in competition for the starting running back position with Jahvid Best. Smith has led the Lions in rushing attempts and yards in each of the last two seasons.
Former Knight Sha'reff Rashad is in his second year with the New York Giants on their practice squad. Rashad joined the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 and was on the practice squad for most of the year before being signed to the active roster for the last game of the season.
Offensive lineman Patrick Brown was claimed off waivers this week by the New York Jets. Brown had been with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2010 offseason and training camp. He was waived by Minnesota during final cuts and is now on the Jets' active roster.
To see the next wave of UCF's future NFL stars, make sure you catch the Knights in action this fall at Bright House Networks Stadium, including Saturday night's game against NC State. For ticket information, call the Athletic Ticket office at (407) 823-1000 or check out the tickets tab above here at UCFAthletics.com.