Pro Speak 8/29: Cuts Come For Some

Two former Buckeyes saw their first attempts to make NFL rosters come to an end this week, while many others fought on. Meanwhile, two of the top women's basketball players in school history saw their teams duke it out in the WNBA playoffs.

The number of Buckeyes on NFL rosters took a hit this week.

Linebacker John Kerr and fullback Stan White Jr., both undrafted free agents, were waived this week as NFL teams made moves to reach the 75-man roster limit that went into effect Tuesday.

Injuries appear to have undercut the chances of both to make their respective teams, the Vikings for Kerr and the Bengals for White.

Despite not being drafted, White earned praise from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis during offseason workouts and looked like he had a good chance to make the team given the Bengals dearth at fullback. Lewis' familiarity with White's father, Stan Sr., did not hurt either.

However, White was hobbled by a sprained ankle for nearly the entirety of preseason camp and failed to make a mark.

Chances are good he also was not helped by the hip-pointer kicker Shane Graham suffered in the third preseason game. Though Graham likely will be back for the season opener, the Bengals had to sign another kicker as an insurance policy in the meantime.

Kerr was unquestionably a longer shot to make the Vikings. After a mostly unremarkable time in scarlet and gray, he was one of the surprises of camp early on, earning media praise from head coach Brad Childress until a bad back put the former Buckeye on the sideline…

In Carolina Panthers' camp, Na'il Diggs and Nate Salley are hoping to avoid similar fates. Though it seems unlikely either will be cut before the season opener, both have missed significant time with injuries this year, and those health problems may well have cost them starting jobs.

Both missed preseason game number three, a 24-7 loss to New England.

Rookie Jon Beason started in Diggs' place at weakside linebacker, while Deke Cooper held down the free safety spot.

Meanwhile, Drew Carter appears to have fallen behind Keary Colbert in the race for the No. 2 WR spot in Carolina. Although Carter had a team-high 53 yards on three catches in their third preseason game, he also dropped a third-down pass. Even as the No. 3 receiver, Carter figures to face a challenge for playing time from rookie Dwayne Jarrett.

The news was not all bad for the former Buckeyes on the Panther roster, however. Chris Gamble led the team against the Patriots with six tackles, and he saved a touchdown by swatting a pass away from Ben Watson in the end zone…

In that same game, Bam Childress continued his role as underdog to make the Patriot roster.

The wide receiver did not record any stats in the contest, but for the preseason he leads the team with an average of 28.0 yards per return on kickoffs.

He survived the first round of cuts, perhaps with the aid of his ability to play special teams.

"You can look at our roster in the last few years, or even since I've been here, and find plenty of players on the 53-man roster who had a significant amount of playing time in the kicking game and had very little offensively or defensively," Pats coach Bill Belichick told reporters on a conference call. "There's no question that there's a place for those players on our roster and they're important players to us. Some players give us offensive and defensive depth and fewer plays in the kicking game. Other players give us a lot of plays in the kicking game and fewer plays as depth on offense and defense. Some guys are more balanced. When you put your roster together, you have to find a way to get all of those bases covered. There's no question that special teams is a big factor in the makeup of your team and in some roster decisions."

Two of Childress' competitors at wide receiver, Chad Jackson and Troy Brown, will be out to start the season after they were placed on the physically unable to perform list…

In that same division, the AFC East, one of Childress' former college teammates, Adrien Clarke is battling Jacob Bender, a rookie from Division I-AA Nicholls State for the vacant left guard spot.

Clarke started the first two preseason games while Bender starter the third and most recent.

Neither was overwhelming. Bender allowed a sack of starting quarterback Chad Pennington while Clarke was whistled for a false-start penalty.

Clarke told reporters after the game he is feeling the pressure to contribute for a team that made the playoffs last season.

"The best thing as a player to do is to get out there constantly every day and just try to play your best," he said. "And when you mess up, try to improve from that mistake and just keep on working."

Jets Confidential, our partner on the Network, speculated this week veteran Keydrick Vincent could be picked up by the Jets to help shore up that spot after he was cut by the Ravens this week…

Across the coast, we get word from of the Scout Network that Tommy Kelly will start for the Raiders at defensive end opposite star Derrick Burgess.

That leaves former Buckeye Jay Richardson and fellow rookie Quentin Moses to battle for playing time as reserves. Kevin Huntly, another competitor for playing time at end, was cut Tuesday…

The best news of the week, of course, came from Baltimore, where quarterback Drew Olson was cut, thus opening the door for Troy Smith to take over as the No. 3 quarterback.

It remains to be seen if that will be as a member of the active roster or if the Ravens will try to keep Smith on the practice squad as they did with Olson last year, but head coach Brian Billick told ESPN Radio on Wednesday afternoon, "We like the progress (Troy has) made."…

We wrap up NFL news with an entry from the, "Everything May Not Be What It Seems" File.

None in Buckeye Nation could have been happy to hear the news David Boston was involved in a suspected case of driving under the influence last week, but the latest reports from Tampa Tribune indicate Boston may yet be exonerated.

According to the paper's analysis of the police report, Boston struggled with field sobriety tests but blew a 0.00 on a breath test, and an additional test of his urine showed no evidence of other drug use.

A local police captain told the Tribune a forensics lab would conduct further tests on Boston's urine, and those results were not expected to be available until Thursday…

Lastly, in case you missed it, a WNBA first-round playoff series pitting two former Buckeyes against each other wrapped up Tuesday night with Katie Smith and the Detroit Shock eliminating Jessica Davenport and the New York Liberty.

The Shock, the defending league champs, trailed the upstart Liberty by 10 points in the second half but rallied to win in overtime and take the best-of-three series two games to one.

New York led by five in overtime when Smith made a three-pointer to draw the Shock within two at 69-67.

Detroit tied the game at 69 with a jumper from Deanna Nolan then went ahead thanks to a layup by Swin Cash. Former University of Minnesota center Janel McCarville had a chance to tie the game with 0:03 to play but missed the second of two free throws.

Smith finished with 12 points and five rebounds, while Davenport did not play. The rookie center saw a total of 10 minutes of game action in the first two games, scored three points and grabbed three rebounds.

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