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Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:14 PM
— The Cincinnati Bengals have a knack for attracting quality undrafted college free agents because they have a history of giving those players a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster.
Last year there were two rookie UFAs who made the initial 53-man roster in tight end Cethan Carter and linebacker Hardy Nickerson. Additionally, there were four other players who entered the league as UFAs on the 53 in offensive linemen Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond, wide receiver Alex Erickson and linebacker Vincent Rey. And that list doesn’t include linebacker Vontaze Burfict, a 2013 UFA who was suspended for the start of the 2017 season, and will be again for the first four games in 2018.
That’s seven of the top 54 players (13 percent of the roster) who went undrafted as rookies.
The current roster construction heading into Phase III of OTAs next week features 13 undrafted rookies.
Here’s a look at the five with best chance to survive the final cuts to make the 53-man roster:
Quinton Flowers, RB, South Florida
Plenty was written during last weekend’s rookie camp about Flowers switching from quarterback to running back, but his value goes well beyond that. He took turns fielding punts and serving as the personal protector on special teams as well as taking snaps and both running and passing out of the wildcat formation.
Chris Worley, LB, Ohio State
There is no other position where the Bengals have as much success mining undrafted talent than linebacker, and with Burfict suspended the first four games there is an opening for Worley to become the latest longshot to be on the field opening weekend, especially after drawing the praise of position coach Jim Haslett after his performance at rookie camp.
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, DE, Arkansas State
A team can never have enough edge rushers, and Rolland-Jones is an intriguing prospect. The 2016 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year logged 26.5 sacks in his final two seasons and the conference’s career leader with 43.5. At 6-foot-2 and 253 pounds he’s undersized as an edge rusher, but if he can use his quickness and continue to get into the backfield against NFL linemen, he could add value to the Bengals defense.
Ka’Raun White, WR, West Virginia
Wide receiver probably will be the hardest position group for a UFA to crack, but White has genetics on his side with two older brothers in the NFL in Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White and San Diego Chargers safety Kyzir White.
Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii
It probably would take an injury to one of the other safeties for Henderson to be one of the four the team is expected to keep, but it’s a position the coaches have talked most about upgrading this offseason and Henderson was projected to be a fifth- or sixth-round pick by many analysts.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:54 PM
DAYTON — The University of Dayton shared a video updating the progress of phase two of the three-year, $72 million UD Arena renovation on Friday.
The video shows the seats in the 300 and 400 levels have been removed. They will be replaced by padded seats with cupholders.
» EARLIER COVERAGE: Phase two of renovation may be busiest
UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt walked fans through the changes going on inside and outside the arena.
“The main concentration of phase two is expanding the north side and east side of the building,” DeBolt said.
DeBolt mentioned the expanded concourse area, improved restrooms and an elevator that will provide access to a new landing at the top of the east side 400 level. That area will contain restrooms, expanded handicap seating and concession options.
“The area will provide guests with a dynamic view of the playing floor and the river,” DeBolt said, “all while maintaining the intimacy of the arena.”
Two photos from today of UD Arena as phase two of renovation continues. pic.twitter.com/ikMF0LreZ8— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) July 18, 2018
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 1:39 PM
— Offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings Tony Sparano died Sunday morning at age 56.
The Vikings said in a statement Sunday that Sparano died unexpectedly.
Before coaching with the Vikings, Sparano was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He started his NFL career in 1999 as an offensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns. Throughout his career, Sparano has coached with the Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys, Jets and 49ers, according to NFL.com.
“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds will use a six-man starting pitching rotation at least until the trade deadline July 31, though interim manager Jim Riggleman hopes the Reds hang onto Matt Harvey, the player most likely to be dealt.
“I’ve got no indication that he’s going to be traded,” Riggleman said Sunday.
» HAL McCOY: Reds honor 2018 Hall of Fame class
Harvey (5-5, 4.63 ERA) makes his 13th start with the Reds on Sunday, facing the Pittsburg Pirates in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park. He would make one more start with the Reds if he stays with the team until the trade deadline.
Entering Sunday, the only question with the rotation was who would start Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals after Homer Bailey (1-7, 6.68) returns to the rotation Tuesday. Riggleman confirmed that starter will be Sal Romano (5-8, 5.19).
“If we absolutely need (Romano) today in the bullpen,” Riggleman said, “he would pitch today, but we would really try to limit that and see if he would then be able to pitch Wednesday as a starter.”
The six-man rotation could test the bullpen if the Reds stick with it for long because it means the Reds will have one fewer reliever than normal.
Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 3:31 PM
DAYTON — Two of the top-10 leading scorers in Dayton Flyers men’s basketball history will join the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Roosevelt Chapman and John Horan will be honored on May 18, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus.
Chapman is Dayton’s all-time scoring leader. He scored 2,233 points between 1980 and 1984. Horan (1951-55) ranks 10th with 1,757 points.
» LOOKING BACK: Chapman led Dayton to Elite Eight in 1984
Among the other inductees are:
• Beavercreek's Alison Bales, who won two state championships in high school and was a 1,075-point scorer at Duke.
» RELATED: Archdeacon on Bales in 2017
• The late Lauren Hill, who inspired people around the country while battling a brain tumor during her career at the College of Mount St. Joseph.
• Mike Pratt, a Dayton native who attended Meadowdale High School and starred for the Kentucky Wildcats.
• Larry Baker, a St. Paris native who ranks sixth in career scoring at Wittenberg (1,627).
• Steve Moore, a Wittenberg graduate who has turned Wooster in a Division III national powerhouse and ranks second in career victories (822-239) at that level.
• The 1952 and 1953 Middletown High School boys teams that won Class A state championships.
• The 1952 and 1955 Lockland Wayne teams that won Class B state titels.
• Gary Walters, who won 407 games at Newark High School from 1972-1999.
• James Houdeshell, who had 21 winning records in 30 seasons at Findlay College.
• Reginald Lee, who won 434 games Brookhaven High School.
• Muskingum College’s Donna Newberry, the fifth-winningest active women’s coach in NCAA Division III.
• Eastlake North High School’s Kaayla Chones, Ohio's Ms. Basketball in 1998 and 1999.
• Larry Nance, who played seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
• Charlie Slack, who starred at Marshall University in the 1950s.
• Former Ohio State Buckeyes Dave Sorenson, Scoonie Penn and Jodi Roth Korbas.