Three Tar Heels Sign NFL Free Agent Contracts

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Three North Carolina football players signed free agent contracts on Monday, just hours after the 2004 NFL Draft concluded.

Place-kicker Dan Orner signed with Minnesota, while tailback Willie Parker and tight end Bobby Blizzard each reached agreements with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A total of six Tar Heels from last season's squad have either been drafted or signed with an NFL team. On Sunday, free safety Dexter Reid (New England), cornerback Michael Waddell (Tennessee) and offensive guard Jeb Terry (Tampa Bay) were selected in the NFL Draft.

Orner played two seasons for the Tar Heels after transferring from Michigan State. He made many memorable kicks during his Carolina career, including a 47-yard game-winning field goal as time expired at Duke in 2002. He tied an NCAA record with three field goals over 50 yards in the 2002 win at Syracuse.

Parker lettered four seasons at North Carolina as a tailback and made 10 career starts. A native of Clinton, N.C., he rushed 285 times for 1,172 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He also caught 31 passes for 264 yards. Parker played perhaps his best game in Carolina's 16-10 Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. In that game, he rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown.

Blizzard, a native of Hampton, Va., earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2002, but was slowed last season with a viral illness and calf injury. Blizzard began his career at Kentucky, but played his final two seasons at North Carolina. He caught 78 career passes for 876 yards and six touchdowns.


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