Linson, Horne Report to NFL Mini-Camps

MOUNT PLEASANT - While Central Michigan University's three NFL draft picks officially began their professional careers last week, two former teammates are looking to join them in the league.

Wide receiver Damien Linson of Plymouth (N.C.) High School and cornerback Pacino Horne of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College have reported to mini-camps with the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions, respectively. Both were invited to camp as undrafted free agents following the April 28-29 NFL draft.

A total of five players from the 2006 Mid-American Conference championship team will take part in NFL camps which began this past weekend, the largest contingent from one CMU team since seven members of the 1981 team (one draftee, six free agents) signed with NFL clubs.

Linson ranks third all-time at Central Michigan University in receiving yards (2,279) and touchdown receptions (17) and fourth in receptions (155). He was named the most valuable player of the 2006 Mid-American Conference Championship Game after catching seven passes for a championship game-record 191 yards and a touchdown. A four-year letterman, Linson averaged 8.8 yards on 50 career punt returns, including two punt returns for touchdowns.

Horne was a two-year starter at CMU after transferring from Grand Rapids Community College. After starting 10 games at free safety in 2005, Horne transitioned to corner and led the Chippewas with four interceptions in 2006. He led the secondary with 66 total tackles in 2005 and made at least 10 tackles in three different games during his CMU career.

Joining Linson and Horne in NFL mini-camps are CMU's school-record three draft picks: offensive tackle Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers, first round), defensive end Dan Bazuin (Chicago Bears, second round) and guard/center Drew Mormino (Miami Dolphins, sixth round). Staley was the first first-round pick in CMU history.

A total of 10 former Chippewas are on summer training camp rosters of NFL teams. Aside from the current rookie crop, the five returning veterans are Adam Kieft and Eric Ghiaciuc (Cincinnati Bengals), Cullen Jenkins and Tory Humphrey (Green Bay Packers) and Kent Smith (Tennessee Titans).

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