Arizona Wildcats in NFL: Three released, look to bounce back

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Arizona’s contingent in the NFL was reduced to 18 with the release of linebacker Ricky Elmore (Washington), center Colin Baxter (San Diego) and fullback Spencer Larsen (Tampa Bay) on Monday and Tuesday.

Ricky Elmore has suited up for Green Bay, San Diego, Arizona and Washington in his brief career

Ricky Elmore has suited up for Green Bay, San Diego, Arizona and Washington in his brief career

All are journeymen early in their NFL careers and young enough to keep trying.

Larsen, a linebacker at Arizona, was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft by Denver. Baxter went undrafted in 2011. Elmore, a defensive end who ranks second in career sacks at Arizona with 25.5, was a sixth-round selection by Green Bay in 2011.

Larsen’s NFL experience includes stints with Denver, New England and Tampa Bay. Elmore has been with Green Bay, San Diego, Arizona and Washington. Baxter has played for San Diego and the New York Jets.

Baxter could be a victim of having to prove himself to the new Chargers coaching staff led by Mike McCoy. Norv Turner’s staff thought so much of Baxter, a two-time All-Pac-12 second-team selection, they invited him twice to make it with the team.

The Chargers waived him before the 2011 season after signing him as an undrafted free agent. He played briefly with the New York Jets that season before being waived. San Diego signed him to its practice squad and lasted the entire 2012 with the Chargers. He has started twice and played 12 games in his short NFL career.

Elmore’s named surfaced in a couple of reports during Washington’s scrimmages. He intercepted passes by Robert Griffin III and Pat White.

Larsen’s release by Tampa Bay left the Buccaneers with Erik Lorig as the lone fullback on their roster.

* * * * *

Rob Gronkowski was in the news Tuesday because of New England coach Bill Belichick getting testy over questions involving the former UA tight end’s health. He has spent training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list while recovering from back surgery.

If the team were to transfer him to the reserve/PUP list, Gronkowski would not be eligible to return to the active roster for six weeks. He would not be eligible to begin practice until after Oct. 13 and not be available to play until the Oct. 20 road game vs. the New York Jets.

Asked if was difficult to hold a roster spot for an injured player, Belichick replied, “I think it’s just what I said it was: Each situation is independent. It depends on the situation and it depends on what your other options are, what the injury is, how long you’re talking about, what the expectations are, what kind of depth we have at that position. You could go on and on.”

Although Gronkowski is on the physically unable to perform list, he is offering weight-training tips in an advertisement for Walgreens.

Rob Gronkowski offers his workout regimen in a new Walgreen's ad for xxxx

Rob Gronkowski offers his workout regimen in a new Walgreen’s ad for MuscleTech Whey Protein

This site will run statistic updates on former Wildcats who are active in the NFL throughout the season:

PASSING STATISTICS

Player (Years at UA) Team Att Comp Yds Comp% Yds/Att TD Int
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia 25 21 208 84.0 8.3 0 1
Matt Scott (2008-12) Jacksonville 28 12 103 42.9 3.7 0 0

RUSHING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Att Yds Yds/Att Long TD
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia QB 6 19 3.2 10 1
Matt Scott (2008-12) Jacksonville QB 3 24 8.0 18 0

RECEIVING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Rec Yards Yds/Rec Long TD
David Douglas (2008-11) Tampa Bay WR 4 28 7.0 12 2
Dan Buckner (2011-12) Arizona WR 2 23 11.5 19 0
Juron Criner (2008-11) Oakland WR 1 23 23.0 23 0

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos Tackles Solo Assist Sacks FRec
Earl Mitchell (2006-09) Houston NT 7 5 2 1.0 0
De'Aundre Reed (2007-10) Minnesota DE 6 4 2 0.5 0
Robert Golden (2008-11) Pittsburgh S 6 4 2 0 0
Trevin Wade (2008-11) Cleveland CB 6 4 2 0 0
Lance Briggs (1999-02) Chicago LB 6 4 2 0 0
Antoine Cason (2004-07) Arizona CB 4 3 1 0 0
Brooks Reed (2007-10) Houston LB 1 0 1 0 0

FIELD GOAL STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
Nick Folk (2003-06) N.Y. Jets 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-0 2-2

An overall list of UA players in the NFL:

Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Eben Britton, G, Chicago Bears
Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Juron Criner, WR, Oakland Raiders
David Douglas, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
Robert Golden, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Chris Gronkowski, FB, San Diego Chargers
Spencer Larsen, FB/LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Earl Mitchell, NT, Houston Texans
Fendi Onobun*, TE, Chichago Bears
Brooks Reed, LB, Houston Texans
D’Aundre Reed, DE, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Trevin Wade, CB, Cleveland Browns

* — Onobun did not play football at Arizona but he lettered with the basketball team four years before playing one season of football at Houston

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.

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