Pro Register Update

KALAMAZOO — The recent signings of two Western Michigan University players by National Football League clubs continues a trend of Broncos finding employment at all levels of professional football. As of May 1, 13 former WMU players were under contract to professional teams.

The Show
The last week of April was memorable for senior wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, who received his undergraduate degree from WMU, then days later, signed on with the Detroit Lions prior to the team's minicamp (May 2-4) in Allen Park. Senior tight end Mobolaji Afariogun attended the Chicago Bears minicamp (May 2-4) and was one of three undrafted free agents signed by the team on May 4. Two-time Super Bowl participant Tom Nutten joined the New York Jets during the off-season after spending five years with the St. Louis Rams. The longest serving Bronco currently in the NFL, Nutten has started 57 of 62 career games on the offensive line.

Vegas Reunion
Teammates during the 1995 WMU season, quarterback Jay McDonagh and wide receiver/defensive back Sean Riley have joined forces again to lead the Las Vegas Gladiators into first place in the Eastern Division of the Arena Football League. Known as a scrappy, tough-nosed quarterback during his days at WMU, McDonagh has already set franchise records for passing yards in a game (381) and rushing touchdowns in a season (14) — a figure that ranks second best in the AFL. The 30-year-old McDonagh had completed 60.4 percent of his passes (218-361) for 2,497 yards and 41 touchdowns as of May 5. Riley, who started the season with the Grand Rapids Rampage, ranks third among Gladiator receivers in receptions (42) and receiving yards (473) to go along with seven touchdowns. Riley participated in the 2002 New York Giants training camp.

Rampage Contributors
Two other Broncos are playing 45 minutes north of Kalamazoo in Grand Rapids. Defensive specialist Mark Ricks has started the last six games for the Rampage after signing with the team on March 21. In his short stint, Ricks has already taken over the team lead in interceptions (5) for the first-place Rampage. Among AFL career leaders, Ricks ranks tied for third in interceptions, fourth in pass breakups and sixth in tackles. Quarterback Jeff Welsh is a member of the practice squad, but has seen time on special teams. Welsh performed a good samaritan act a few months ago, assisting a man trapped under 15 sheets of heavy plywood, weighing approximately 1,000 pounds. Welsh was able to lift enough of the plywood to free the injured worker.

Rogers' Neighborhood
An All-MAC cornerback and four-year starter, Ronald "Bo" Rogers has traveled overseas to strengthen his pro career. Rogers, who attended the St. Louis Rams training camp last summer, is a second unit corner and punt returner for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. Rogers was a fifth round selection in the NFLE Free Agent Draft and has logged one interception and two punt returns. Rogers is the second WMU player in as many years to develop his trade in NFL Europe; Corey Alston returned kicks for the Rhein Fire last season.

North of the Border
A couple of former Broncos have found their nitch with the Canadian Football League, which kicks off preseason action later this month. Offensive lineman Paul Lambert is preparing for his third season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, while fullback Bruno Heppell, who completed his WMU career in 1996, returns for the Montreal Alouettes. Heppell's popularity has spurned a French-Canadian website (Bruno Heppell.com) devoted to the Quebec native.

Additional Alumni News
Two-way lineman Colin Greczek has played in 11 of 14 games for the AFL Orlando Predators, recording a sack … rookie Jeremy Johnson is on injury reserve with the AFL Buffalo Destroyers … linebacker Mario Evans was recently activated from the AFL2 Macon Knights' practice squad.


National Football League (NFL)
Mobolaji Afariogun, TE Chicago Bears
Jermaine Lewis, WR Detroit Lions
Tom Nutten, OG/C New York Jets


NFL Europe League (NFLE)
Ronald Rogers, CB Scottish Claymores


Canadian Football League (CFL)
Bruno Heppell, FB Montreal Alouettes
Paul Lambert, OL Hamilton Tiger-Cats


Arena Football League (AFL)
Colin Greczek, OL/DL Orlando Predators
Jeremy Johnson, OL/DL Buffalo Destroyers
Jay McDonagh, QB Las Vegas Gladiators
Mark Ricks, DS Grand Rapids Rampage
Sean Riley, WR/DB Las Vegas Gladiators
Jeff Welsh, QB Grand Rapids Rampage


Arena2 Football League (AFL2)
Mario Evans, FB/LB Macon Knights

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