The National Football League regular season begins Thursday night, and all 32 teams have trimmed their rosters to the mandated 53 players.
As the first kickoff of the year draws near, there are plenty of players with local ties to watch on Sundays, but some more recent Toledo and Bowling Green alums found cut day to be a rough one.
LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS
Findlay alum Ben Roethlisberger returns for his 15th year with Pittsburgh, where he has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and again led the team to an AFC North Division championship a season ago. With 51,065 career passing yards, he is eighth all-time in league history.
Chris Wormley, a Whitmer and Michigan graduate, is in his second season with Baltimore.
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Whitmer graduate Chris Wormley returns for a second season with Baltimore. The Michigan product started two games last season and will be part of the Ravens’ defensive line rotation again. After surviving Cleveland, DeShone Kizer (Central Catholic) is now in Green Bay after an offseason trade. He’ll back up Aaron Rodgers.
Overlooked at every stretch of his career, Fostoria grad Micah Hyde has made a nice career for himself in the NFL. The former fifth-round pick and current Buffalo safety is expected to make his 50th career start on Sunday. Anthony Wayne alumnus Andrew Donnal — like Hyde an Iowa alum — is now with Detroit, which claimed the offensive tackle on waivers after his release from Baltimore earlier this week.
Minnesota signed Whitmer and UT product Storm Norton as part of its practice squad. A few more locals are searching for their next landing spot after missing cuts. Whitmer grads Nate and Nick Holley (Rams), St. John’s Jesuit’s Brogan Roback (Cleveland), Central Catholic’s Keith Towbridge (Buffalo), and Southview alum Griff Whalen (Oakland) are free agents going into Week 1.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing in 2017.
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UT will be well represented this season. Safety Barry Church is in his ninth pro season and second with Jacksonville. He had a career-best four interceptions last season for Jaguars’ second-ranked defense. Kareem Hunt, now of fantasy football fame, will start for Kansas City. He led the league with 1,327 yards rushing as a rookie in 2017.
Two Rockets made Tennessee’s 53-man roster, as Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern returns for his 11th pro season and running back David Fluellen will be the team’s third option out of the backfield.
Michael Roberts returns for his second season in Detroit as one of Matthew Stafford’s tight ends. Two offensive linemen — Greg Mancz in Houston and John Greco with the New York Giants — will be reserves with their teams.
Ola Adeniyi made the roster in Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent, but will begin the season on injured reserve and miss the first eight games of the season.
Four more Rockets are on practice squads. Quarterback Logan Woodside latched on with Tennessee after being released by Cincinnati. Norton is with Minnesota, while tackle Elijah Nkansah and safety Rolan Milligan are on the practice squads in Seattle and Detroit, respectively.
Among those cut in the final days of camp were rookie running back Terry Swanson, veteran receiver Bernard Reedy, offensive linemen Zac Kerin and Brant Weiss, defensive end Jayrone Elliott, defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, and cornerback Trevon Mathis.
Two former Falcons are on the Kansas City practice squad. Offensive tackle Ryan Hunter and receiver Gehrig Dieter accepted offers from the Chiefs this week. Linebacker Gabe Martin played sparingly with Arizona the past two years and is on injured reserve for the Cardinals as he rehabs an Achilles injury.
Receivers Roger Lewis (Giants) and Teo Redding (Lions) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (49ers) are free agents after releases this week.
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