Wildcats in the Pro's (or Where are they Now)

From MLB to the NFL, there are quite a few Northwestern Wildcats holding down paying jobs in professional sports. Here's a quick post NFL Roster Cut-Down recap of who's out there and what they're doing.

Playing in the NFL:
  • Brett Basanez #14 Carolina Panthers - On Injured Reserve due to a season ending
  • Kevin Bentley #57 Seattle Seahawks - Returns for his 3rd year as one of Seattle's top backup outside nickel linebackers. Played in 15 games with 3 starts - heads into his 6th pro season as the #2 OLB and on special teams.
  • Luis Castillo #93 San Diego Chargers - "Dancing Bear" is entering his 3rd year with the Chargers, a major player at DE in San Diego's 3-4 D. Was hurt part of last year [ankle] but should return to his form of 2005/06.
  • Barry Cofield #96 New York Giants - Started as a rookie at nose tackle but injuries to other members of the team exposed his inexeperience at the pro level. Should be back in the middle with more help this year and the Giants will be using different D-line sets with Cofield as more of a blitzer from a 4-3 set.. Also helping is the return of DE Michael Strahan, who attracts attention from the other team, giving BC more room to operate.
  • Trai Essex #79 Pittsburgh Steelers - Starting his 3rd years with the Steelers, but will have a new head coach and position coach to work with in 2007.
  • Napoleon Harris #58 Kansas City Chiefs signed with KC after the Vikings took a pass on resigning him. Is #1 at MLB on the depth chart for KC.
  • Noah Herron #23 Green Bay Packers The Packers seem to like Herron, after they grabbed him off the Steeler's practice squad in 2005, they found out that he could run the ball, and had him pencilled in as the third down back.But then he suffered a season ending knee inury Thursday  He had arthroscopic surgury on his knee over the weekend and is out for the rest of the season on the Packers Injured reserve list.
  • Tim McGarigle St. Louis Rams - Spent last year as a backup MLB after being drafted in the 7th round by the Rams. Is #2 on the depth chart at MLB. The Rams didn't draft any linebackers this year.
  • Ikechuku Ndukwe - Baltimore Ravens - Signed to the Raven's practice squad, but possibly could be moved up to the main club due to injuries to several starters. 
  • Nick Roach #48 San Diego Chargers - Signed as a free agent after the draft. - is now on the Charger's practice squad, making the Chargers the only NFL team with two Wildcats on the roster.
  • Zach Strief #64 New Orleans Saints - Backup Tackle on the Saints - is on depth chart at both right and left tackle #2.
  • Matt Ulrich #69 Indianapolis Colts - NU's 2nd Super Bowl Winner in two years, fully breaking the "Curse of the Wildcats" but was waived by the Colts in the final cut down.
  • Jason Wright #29 Cleveland Browns signed a fairly long [3 year] contract with the Browns last Winter. Is firmly in the Brown's offensive scheme
Here's a link to Scout's Northwestern NFL List

Playing Major League Baseball
  • Mark Loretta Houston Astros playing a utility role for the Astros - plays all 4 infield positions and is batting .271 [.349 slugging] with 33 RBIs (as of Sept 5) - Has played in 118 games so far - has been playing Shortstop for the Astros. Most of the Houston media wants him signed for next year, but there's been a major change in the front office and pressure to bring up more of the farm talent to build the club for the future.
Here's a link to Scout's NU Major League Baseball List

In the Baseball Minor Leagues:
  • Daniel Brauer Clearwater Threshers [Phillies] Lost a game with the GCL Phillies on June 30th and was injured. He hasn't pitched a game since. Had a 6.00 ERA at Clearwater with a 4-3 record in 8 starts.
  • Caleb Fields GCL Pirates [Pirates] Batted .270 in 48 games with the Pirates Rookie Gulf Coast League. Had 18 RBIs, playing 2nd Base.
  • J.A. Happ Ottowa Lynx [Phillies] Started the year as one of Philly's top pitching prospects, but finished the 2007 season 4-6 with a 5.02 ERA. Lost his only appearance in Philadelphia, gave up 5 runs in 4 innings. Is on the Phillies 40 man roster, but wasn't called up to the big club this September.
  • George Kontos Tampa Yankees [Yankees] Finished 2007 with a 4.02 ERA and a 4-4 record as a starter. [4-6 overall] in 19 starts.
  • Jon Mikrut Palm Beach Cardinals [Cardinals] - Finished season with a 2.91 ERA and a 4-2 record in relief. Appeared in 53 games for the Cardinal's Class A Advanced team.
  • Daniel Pohlman Released by the Visalia Oaks on May 31st. Pitched to a 5.63 ERA with one win in 16 games, all in relief.

Other Baseball Alums
  • Joe Girardi NY Yankees - Was rumored to be on the Oriole's short list to replace Sam Perlazzo who was fired earlier in the season, but turned them down. Also interviewed for the Cub's job after winning the NL Manager of the Year. One commentator in Baltimore questioned why he'd head into another situation like the Marlins. He's doing Yankee broadcasts now, and is considered in line to replace Joe Torre as Yankee manager.

Professional Softball
  • Two Wildcats were drafted by Sharon Drysdale's pro team, but the stories have disappeared.

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